Here are the freebies college football players will get for participating in bowl games this year

There are 40 college football bowl games this season. Sporting News ranked each matchup (picking the Arizona Bowl as the worst), and also took a detailed look at all the freebies players will get for participating.

In addition to items like sunglasses, headphones, and $400 gift cards, some of the bowls will be giving away more exotic gifts. Cowboy hats will be given to players in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl. Players in the Quick Lane Bowl will each receive a life-sized PhotoSlap decal featuring his own likeness. And players in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl will go on a Bass Pro Shops shopping trip.

You can read the full list here. Just about every bowl responded, except for the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman. Read the rest

Glow-in-the-dark Converse All Stars

Converse's line of basketball shoes is the All Star Pro BB. The latest model is the "Nocturnal," available December 15 in North America. They glow in the dark, but will absolutely burn your eyes in sunlight:

Converse has put out some wild designs lately. One recent model is called "Flames," but is absolutely cheese pizza:

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Secret games to play when you're bored in public

This article by Holly Gramazio suggests several ideas for games you can play alone or with friends while in public. My favorite of the lot was posted by a Redditor, and seems like a great way to feel more positive about the world:

When I’m out in public or driving or something, I like to pick a person within my sight and imagine how they’re somebody’s FAVOURITE person, and if that somebody could be where I am in that moment, they’d be overjoyed to see them. I imagine how that person might joke around, or I think about the nice things they might do for their friends or family, and I wonder if there’s someone across the country that wishes more than anything that they could be as near to that stranger as I am now.

Check out more ideas here and here.

(Article via RPS, The Card Players by Lucas van Leyden via Wikipedia.)

(My partner and I have a new, stupid game that makes us smile--when we're watching sports together, we add an "N" to players' last names.) Read the rest

The Alpha Gun Angels are Israeli gun influencers

Earlier this year, Vox looked at the popularity of female influencers showing off firearms on Instagram. Facebook/Instagram forbids advertisements promoting the sale or use firearms. So, marketers pay influencers to dodge the rule:

There are dozens of women (it is mostly women who are gun influencers) making partial or complete livings off Instagram grids full of guns and perfect smiles. Some of them are hunters, some of them are veterans, some participate in professional shooting sports, some also swing-dance, some play soccer. Some look really good in a pair of camouflage overalls or a red, white, and blue onesie or wearing almost nothing, and all of them have come up with their own rules about how best to monetize these physical realities.

They’ve done something that the companies in the firearm industry cannot do on their own: make the gun lifestyle as attractive and aspirational as all the others on Instagram.

One such group is the Alpha Gun Angels.

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Such a Badass! 🤩 - happy thanksgiving everyone! With love, AGA family 💞 . . Beautiful @sapir_elgrabli w/ @iwi_intl 📸 @omershapira_ 👑 #alphagunangels #sapirelgrabli #iwi #tavor #meprolight #bullpup #bullpuprifle #rifles #gungirls

A post shared by Alpha Gun Angels - A.G.A Ltd. (@alpha.gun.angels_aga) on Nov 29, 2019 at 8:22am PST

Writing for Jewish Currents, Sophia Goodfriend looks at the business:

The Alpha Gun Angels, who bill themselves as Israel’s premier gun-modeling and social media–marketing agency, are a team of nine active and veteran IDF combat soldiers turned Instagram celebrities.

Read the rest

The DNA in his semen was completely replaced with another man's DNA

Writing for the New York Times, Heather Murphy has a fascinating story about the unexpected results of a bone marrow transplant.

When a patient receives a bone marrow transplant, the patient's own cells are destroyed and replaced with cells from a donor. Thereafter, the patient is a "chimera," with two sets of DNA. It's believed that other than helping the recipient's immune system, the donor DNA has little impact on the recipient:

“Their brain and their personality should remain the same"

However, the duplicate DNA can cause confusion in criminal investigations.

Murphy's article recounts a multi-year experiment carried out by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department when an employee received a bone marrow transplant. Realizing the opportunity to further scientific knowledge, they swabbed "the heck" out of the patient before and following the procedure. Four years later, they found surprising results:

Swabs of his lips and cheeks contained his DNA — but also that of his donor. Even more surprising to Mr. Long and other colleagues at the crime lab, all of the DNA in his semen belonged to his donor. “I thought that it was pretty incredible that I can disappear and someone else can appear,” he said.

Read the rest of the article here, including a discussion of whether the change to the recipient's DNA will have an impact on future offspring. And if you're interested in forensic uses of DNA, check out this story about "rapid DNA testing."

(Image via Wikipedia.) Read the rest

Public cemeteries as a precondition for the sale of land

Writing at Metropole, Sarah Balakrishnan describes the development of cemeteries in a city in Ghana. As of the 1800's, the general practice in the seaside city of Accra was to bury the dead underneath the family's home.

Around 1888, British colonists began forcing the populace to bury the dead in public cemeteries. The requirement served multiple purposes:

Cemeteries were undoubtedly a part of British colonists’ bid to reorganize African societies according to Christian schematics of “civilization”—what has been called the “civilizing mission.” But they also had another, more insidious, ambition. Creating private property in Accra required cemeteries. Graveyards relocated ancestors to the public domain, making it possible for Gold Coasters to sell their property to interested buyers.

British colonists had long understood that communities in Accra would never sell their land if it contained the remains of their elders. Public cemeteries thus transferred rituals of social reproduction—celebrating, mourning, and remembering the dead—into the domain of the state, so that private houses could be made fungible and sellable. Like elsewhere in the world, commemorations of death shaped the devolution of property. In colonial Accra, British colonists used cemeteries to enforce private property in land.

Soon, large public cemeteries indeed grew, which led to various other problems. For one thing, once large public cemeteries came into existence, developers started scheming to use the land for a different purpose:

While the state used cemeteries to enforce private property in land, this had come at a cost: the creation of massive “immovable properties.” Whereas chiefs and wealthy “big men” (abirempon) had built many cemeteries in the 20th century by buying expansive estates, the colonial government now wanted to build railroads and thoroughfares through these lands.

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Check out the deliciously insidious first monetized choice in this freemium game

Storyscape is a freemium mobile app that offers several choose your own adventure-style stories. The vast majority of choices are free, and the choices made don't seem to have a meaningful impact on the story. So far, I've experimented with stories based on the X-Files, James Cameron's Titanic, and a snowbound post-apocalyptic scenario.

In the X-Files adventure, you meet the stars of the show and soon join the team. The first episode delivers the core elements of the X-Files--a gross monster, humor, and winks to the relationship between Mulder and Scully:

But there isn't an interesting monetized choice in the first episode of the X-Files story. On the other hand, the first monetized choice in the Titanic storyline is supremely well-crafted.

As the story opens, you're a gorgeous young orphaned immigrant suffragette who has found herself imprisoned in a jail in London. Over the ensuing episodes, you find yourself on the Titanic, choosing between various intrigues, suitors, and outfits (the diamond icon represents a choice requiring spending premium currency):

You encounter the occasional familiar face, as well:

However, that's all in the future. At the start of the story, you're in dank cell with little hope for release. Your younger sister is in the city, helpless without you. A guard enters with apparent ill intent. The game offers you this choice and explanation, since it's the first monetized choice I encountered:

I absolutely decided to know jujitsu:

That's the most I've ever enjoyed spending premium currency. You can try out the Storyscape app on your mobile device. Read the rest

Do you dare look upon this horse-wolfpack hybrid?

I haven't read the later books in the Southern Reach series, but I imagine if the phenomena had eventually extended past the swamp to interact with horses and wolves the result would have looked very much like this:

It seems to be a knockoff of "Twilight Hunters" from the Trail of Painted Ponies series:

The series includes several horse/animal combinations. Artist Lori Musil explained her first horse in the series, a horse/cow hybrid, was inspired by searching for a horse on her friend's farm:

The house was surrounded by a picket fence and beyond that, as far as you could see, all you could see were Herefords. I walked around for a while, moving among the cows, calves and bulls, but I couldn’t find the horse. Finally I gave up, and after my friend had a good laugh, she came out with bucket of grain, shook it, and this head popped up with the ears standing straight. Apparently he would hide among the cattle when he thought he was going to be ridden, but when it came to grain, he couldn’t resist.

You can see other horses in the series here. Read the rest

Newsletter detailing the world of white collar crime

Matt Levine's consistently excellent newsletter for Bloomberg is called Money Stuff, and is typically focused on white collar crime and crime-adjacent behavior. Monday's edition looks at the New York Times' article on on the possible existence of Epstein-related incriminating videos, and attempts to explain why the story doesn't actually allege criminal behavior by the lawyers involved:

It’s “a long way from extortion” in the technical sense that they were lawyers and knew the proper incantations to utter to make it not extortion. It’s not a long way from extortion in the sense that they were planning to go to rich men and say “we have compromising videos of you and we will publish them unless you pay us money.” But the incantations make all the difference!

Monday's newsletter includes a summary of various ways bankers can be induced to aid financial crimes, and why Credit Suisse Group AG’s Mozambique scandal doesn't seem to fit the mold:

the Mozambique case is even weirder than I thought, because the bribes weren’t just to motivate the bankers to get the deals approved, they were to motivate the bankers to cut the fees.

...

It is honestly a bit mysterious to me how this could work. If you’re a banker and you come to your bosses with a hairy deal with a higher-than-usual fee, they will be repulsed by the hair but intrigued by the fee. If you come to your bosses with a hairy deal and a below-average fee, because you are pocketing a bribe-in-lieu-of-fees yourself, what’s in it for them?

Read the rest

The devastating 200-year-old tradition of running along a greasy pole in Malta

Presumably coming soon to ESPN's "The Ocho" is some version of this 200-year old tradition in Malta held in honor of St Julian the Hospitaller:

In the tournament, known as Gostra to the Maltese, a 16 meter-pole is covered by 15 liters of lard and fixed at an angle from the promenade into the sea. Competitors try to grab three flags at its end – a blue and white one dedicated to St Mary, a yellow and white one for the Vatican, and the Belgian tricolor, since St Julian is believed to have been born in the Belgian town of Ath in 7AD.

The prizes for competitors "are nominal" but the risks huge:

This photograph from the tournament is particularly great:

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#REUTERS Pictures of the Decade POY DECADE. A man runs up the "gostra", a pole covered in grease, during the religious feast of St Julian, patron of the town of St Julian's, outside Valletta, Malta, August 25, 2013. Picture taken August 25, 2013. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA SEARCH "POY DECADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2019 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. #malta #oddly #tradition #gostra #gostraman #reuters #POY #POYdecade #tpx #picoftheday #toppix #pixoftheday #photooftheday #photosoftheday #imageoftheday #imagesoftheday

A post shared by Darrin Zammit Lupi (@darrinzl) on Dec 3, 2019 at 12:25pm PST

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Modern archaeology is entering a paywalled Lovecraftian forum to access a 1929 edition of an Egypt travel guide

I had hoped In the Valley of Gods, Campo Santo's follow up to Firewatch, was going to adapt some of the magic of the Indiana Jones and Brendan Fraser Mummy films, and add a modern sensibility. The trailer looked promising:

From the team that brought you Firewatch, In the Valley of Gods is a sprawling narrative experience in remote, 1920s Egypt. You are Rashida, a disgraced former explorer and filmmaker given one last shot at the adventurous life you desperately miss. Somewhere, beyond the endless miles of dunes, ruins, and tombs lies an incredible archaeological discovery—but it can't be found without the help of Zora, the former partner you vowed never to work with again. Gameplay A thrilling adventure in first person Navigate and rebuild a relationship with your companion, Zora Utilize an authentic 35mm film camera to document the world and story around you Climb, explore and traverse the wonders of the ancient world

Alas, Campo Santo was acquired by Valve, and a statement was put out today that the project was "on hold" since the team had scattered to work on other Valve projects like Half-Life: Alyx.

Duncan Fyfe, who had been thrilled to be working on In the Valley of Gods, tweeted a thread lamenting the apparent end of the project. You can read the entire thread about his time working for Campo Santo here. But the best part is Duncan's own adventure to read an obscure antiquity he needed to help his work on the game:

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I played this AI-generated text adventure as the Mandalorian and here's what happened

AI Dungeon 2 is designed by Nick Walton to achieve an ambitious goal:

Imagine an infinitely generated world that you could explore endlessly, continually finding entirely new content and adventures. What if you could also choose any action you can think of instead of being limited by the imagination of the developers who created the game?

The screencap above is from an adventure Nick found posted at Hacker News.

I decided to try a few games as The Mandalorian. For my first attempt I used the recommended fantasy setting, and chose to play as a knight named Mando. Here's what unfolded:

You are Mando, a knight living in the kingdom of Larion. You have a steel longsword and a wooden shield. You are on a quest to defeat the evil dragon of Larion. You've heard he lives up at the north of the kingdom. You set on the path to defeat him and walk into a dark forest. As you enter the forest you see a large black dragon flying through the sky. He looks like it is ready to eat you

> compare dragon's likeness to my bounty puck

The black dragon looks very similar to your bounty puck. The only difference is that this one has a red stripe down its side. You decide to take the dragon for yourself.

> use grappling hook to climb onto dragon

You grab hold of the dragon's neck with your hand and pull yourself up onto his back. You then begin climbing up towards his head.

Read the rest

These are very cool kaleidoscopes

"Nova Scopes" by David Sugich:

My kaleidoscopes are not your typical everyday kaleidoscopes. I make a variety of 2-, 3-, and 4-mirror kaleidoscopes which are 2-, 2.5-, and 3-dimensional in nature. I use domestic, U.S.-made, colored glass as the decorative exteriors, and dynamically moving, sparkling oil for the object chambers at the end of the mirror systems. My kaleidoscopes create images reminiscent of fireworks, cathedral rose windows, outer space, and psychedelics.

In motion, they remind me of Spock's entry into V'ger:

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A look inside a Star Nova! Music by Spatial Distortion #kaleidoscope #novascope #handmade #stainedglass #artforsale

A post shared by Nova Scopes (@novascopes) on May 7, 2017 at 10:56pm PDT

Available for purchase here and here. Read the rest

Coca-Cola bottles with built-in light-up lightsabers

If you're going to be in Singapore in December you can participate in "the Galactic Hunt" for Coca-Cola bottles with built-in light-up lightsabers:

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Keep your eyes on these Limited Edition Lighted Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Coca-Cola No Sugar Bottles! In anticipation of the upcoming movie, we will be releasing 5 clues to 5 locations per day on our FB, IG, and website on where to get your hands on one over the next 3 weekends (Fri - Sun) from 6 to 22 Dec. Let the #GalacticHunt begin! >> Link in bio Catch Star Wars: #TheRiseofSkywalker in cinemas this 19 December. #StarWarsSG *T&C applies

A post shared by Coca-Cola Singapore (@cocacolasg) on Dec 4, 2019 at 5:00pm PST

On designated dates, riddles will be posted online. Solve the riddle to figure out the secret location. Head to the location, find the gatekeeper and request a special pass, and then exchange that pass at a 7-Eleven for one of the special Kylo-Ren or Rey-themed bottles:

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Check out these awesome Coca Cola light up Star Wars lightsaber bottles exclusive to Singapore and launched at this years Singapore Comic Con 😮 Singapore only (only 8000 made) #Coca-Cola #sgcomiccon #starwars #jasonfreeny #StarWarsSG

A post shared by Jason Freeny (@gummifetus) on Dec 4, 2019 at 6:52pm PST

(Via Gizmodo.) Read the rest

A touch of The Dark Tower in Red Dead Redemption 2

Warning, Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass spoiler ahead.

It's fascinating to follow explorers discovering the bizarre out of bounds landscapes of Red Dead Redemption 2, like the mysterious pyramids, and seams where the land meets unfinished low-res geography.

Although Mexico is seemingly not part of the game, dataminers say they have found models for familiar Mexico locations hidden in the PS4 version. Gamers have also discovered a hidden path into Mexico. As this video shows, you have to ride your horse into a canyon and then press through the strange barrier at the end. If successful, you emerge in Mexico. The land is almost entirely barren, aside for an abandoned fortress:

Ahh, seems so simple to create an entire Wizard and Glass campaign for the game.

Speaking of, the apparent Big Coffin Hunters in Amazon's upcoming series look great:

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#thankyou #newproject #film #movie #actor #filmmakers #instagood #instagram #fotografie #fotoshooting #foto #pic #hair #hairstyle #hashtag #follwme #munich #berlin #hamburg #stuttgart #gunslinger #hollywood #dark

A post shared by emir muller (@mulleremir) on Jun 20, 2019 at 12:38am PDT

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This print requires anaglyphic viewing glasses for full appreciation

You need red and blue lens to fully appreciate Insane51's murals like these commissions for Star Wars and Infinity War:

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⬅️SWIPE LEFT⬅️ 🔵Finn / Storm trooper🔴 Commission I did at @redcinemasgso for @martykotis on my East coast trip. - 📸: Photos by @droos86 Location: Greensboro, North Carolina, USA 🇺🇲 Year: 2018

A post shared by 🔴Insane51🔵 (@insane51) on Sep 23, 2019 at 8:00am PDT

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🔴 Thanos / Ironman 🔵 I painted this piece of the epic scene from the Avengers: Endgame movie just a few weeks ago and waited a while to release it. I'm very sorry if you haven't seen it yet. Festival:@streetlifefestivallimassol Location : Limassol , Cyprus 🇨🇾 #streetlifefestivallimassol Love you 3000 ❤️

A post shared by 🔴Insane51🔵 (@insane51) on May 16, 2019 at 8:06am PDT

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⬅️⬅️⬅️SWIPE LEFT⬅️⬅️⬅️ I don't usually paint with my space suit on , but when I do... 🔴Double Exposure🔵 X-Ray style at @nassfestival. The actual piece was actually mounted on a wall ride together with some Red & Blue light to get the full effect without 3D glasses at night ! (Video coming up) Thanx again @upfest people for the invitation and 📸 : @streetartatlas making sure we look cool again 🚲: Rider at second picture is the amazing: @isaaclesser 📸: Shot of bmx rider by: @adamlievesleybmx

A post shared by 🔴Insane51🔵 (@insane51) on Jul 16, 2018 at 4:00am PDT

His new print Falling In includes two pairs of anaglyphic glasses:

You can see the print under different lights and try to win a copy at Instagram:

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⬅️SWIPE LEFT⬅️ _ 🔵 PRINT RELEASE & G I V E A W A Y 🔴 _ 🚨SOLD OUT🚨 🎁 GIVEAWAY WINNER : @the.enthused 🎁 _ Get a chance to WIN this BLACK FRIDAY Limited Edition Print by following 3 simple steps: _ 1.

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Bid on the "Neural Network Reindeer" and other one of a kind Christmas tree ornaments for charity

WorkOf recruited 50 independent designers to create one-of-a-kind holiday ornaments for auction at website Paddle8. Proceeds will be donated to Scope of Work, "a social impact company with the purpose of making the creative industry more inclusive."

In addition to RUD-075, The Neural Network Reindeer by Art and Guile, my favorites include Waterdrop Miniture Ornament, The Dark Crystal, Bag in a Tree, and Moonrise:

See all the ornaments Paddle8">here.

(Via Fast Company.) Read the rest

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