Someone is draining the blood from cattle, leaving them looking like "deflated plush toys"

NPR reports a real life X-File: someone (or something!) drained the blood from cattle at Silvies Valley Ranch in eastern Oregon:

The bull looks like a giant, deflated plush toy. It smells. Weirdly, there are no signs of buzzards, coyotes or other scavengers. His red coat is as shiny as if he were going to the fair, but he's bloodless and his tongue and genitals have been surgically cut out.

Over the course of a few days, more mutilated bulls were discovered:

four more Hereford bulls were found within 1.5 miles in the same condition. There were no tracks around the carcasses.

To date, the investigation has mostly just eliminated possibilities such as poisonous plants or bullets being the cause of death. Perhaps overlooking the public's enthusiasm for Westworld-style adventures, the ranch does not seem to have added the ongoing investigation to its list of activities. Read the rest

Clickhole spent a day slandering Cap'n Crunch

Follow your muse where it takes you, even if it leads to a day's worth of articles trashing Cap'n Crunch in outlandish and disturbing ways. Read the rest

Nike really wants Skechers to stop "Skecherizing" its designs

Nike, which already has two lawsuits pending against Skechers, filed a third complaint for patent infringement last month. This time, the complaint targets the Skechers version of the VaporMax and Air Max 270. Aside from the Nike's actual chances of winning, the lawyers filing the complaint on Nike's behalf made the curious decision of highlighting a video that says Nike's VaporMax "looks like garbage":

Among other things, the reviewer identifies the VaporMax as one of his "least favorite sneakers of all time, at least visually" and adds, "it also looks like football payers should be wearing this--and not on their feet. In their mouths." He certainly calls the Skechers version a "blatant knockoff," but mostly because he doesn't understand why Skechers wouldn't have "at least tried to make [a shoe] that looked better." Presumably, Nike will not emphasize that part of the video at trial. Read the rest

The target date for eradicating Guinea worm has been delayed 10 years, and that may be overly optimistic

Humans contract the Guinea worm parasite by ingesting water containing fleas infected with guinea worm larvae. The devastating and nightmarish symptoms don't show up until around a year later:

a stringy worm that is 60 to 90 centimetres erupts through the skin on the leg or foot. Its excruciatingly painful journey out of the body can take weeks. To relieve the burning sensation, many people wade into the nearest body of water — often the same pond from which they drink. When an adult worm enters the water, it releases larvae, and the cycle starts anew.

Because scientists thought the parasite required on humans for transmission, it was believed that Guinea worm could be eradicated. In 1986, The World Health Assembly endorsed a plan targeting the parasite for extinction through the use of larvicides, and by educating people to use water filters and stay out of bodies of water if infected. The plan largely worked:

An international partnership — led by the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia — has reduced the number of new infections from 3.5 million per year in 1986 to just 28 in 2018.

Unfortunately, new cases indicate that animals might be able to transmit guinea worms after all. Cases in Chad may be related to dogs in a way scientists don't yet understand. Other pockets of contamination have also been discovered:

The discovery in 2013 of infected baboons — a first — in a small forested area in southern Ethiopia also has researchers scratching their heads.

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This scientific paper about black holes includes a 1:1 image of a black hole

I can't speak to the scientific value of the paper--actual quote:

We focus on a more exciting possibility: if the OGLE events are due to a population of PBHs then it is possible that the orbital anomalies of TNOs are also due to one of these PBHs that was captured by the Solar System.

But the writers of "What if Planet 9 is a Primordial Black Hole?" get an A for showmanship. Page 5 includes an "exact scale image" of the black hole discussed:

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This bot automatically entered Twitter giveaways, won four times a day

Hunter Scott decided to design a bot to enter Twitter giveaways that asked for follow/like/retweets. He wrote a Python script that searched for and retweeted giveaways, and manually followed accounts when needed. Soon, the problem was not getting banned by Twitter:

They have rate limits which prevent you from tweeting too often, retweeting too aggressively, and creating “following churn”, by rapidly following and unfollowing people. Twitter doesn’t publish these numbers, so I had to figure them out by trial and error. Twitter also limits the total number of people you can follow given a certain number of followers. If you have below a few hundred followers, you cannot follow more than 2000 people. Since a lot of contests required following the original poster, I used a FIFO to make sure I was only following the 2000 most recent contest entries. That gave me long enough to make sure the person I unfollowed had already ended their contest and it kept the follow/unfollow churn rate below the rate limit.

Over the course of nine months, he entered 165,000 contests, winning around 1000. The most valuable prize was a trip to New York Fashion Week, which he did not accept. And his favorite prize was suitably random:

My favorite thing that I won was a cowboy hat autographed by the stars of a Mexican soap opera that I had never heard of. I love it because it really embodies the totally random outcome of these contests.

Eventually, he transformed his bot into one that sought out and retweeted accounts raising money for charity. Read the rest

For the first time, pigs have been filmed using tools

At a zoo in Paris, ecologist Meredith Root-Bernstein noticed a Visayan warty pig pick up a piece of bark in its mouth and then use it to move soil. Over the following years, she and colleagues observed the adults pigs and offspring in the enclosure using bark to build their "nests":

Although the behavior occurred in captivity, there is at least some evidence pigs have used tools in the wild:

It’s very possible that wild Visayans use tools, too, she adds. Fernando “Dino” Gutierrez, president of the Philippine conservation nonprofit Talarak Foundation, Inc., which works to protect warty pigs, agrees.

A few years ago, Gutierrez witnessed a group of wild Visayans pushing rocks toward an electric fence to test it. “As soon as they push and the rocks make contact, they would wait for the clicking sound or absence thereof,” he said by email.

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TIL Disneyland will permit adult cosplay of trash cans

Disneyland rules typically forbid costumes and masks worn by guests 14 years of age or older. But the rules clearly do NOT prevent adults from dressing in stylish trash can cosplay:

Really, Lady Damfino's feed is full of stylish, permissible cosplay ideas such as agent of the First Order or aspiring Egyptologist:

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Do you dare participate in this TikTok challenge?

Play YMCA (or some other song) with your friends, turn around, and see which face the camera focuses on.  There are plenty of compilation videos featuring people playing for minor rewards like loser buys dinner.  But as these clips show, some people have played for high stakes indeed:

(Via Taylor Lorenz.) Read the rest

Dungeons and Dragons stats for the Goose from Untitled Goose Game

A Redditor created stats for the Goose from Untitled Goose Game. Naturally, its actions include an enraging honk:

The creator got some pushback for giving the Goose a chaotic neutral designation. His analysis:

I mean, even though the Goose is unnaturally intelligent, evasive and mean, it never really does anything of real threat to the village. My take on it is to be the subject of a wild goose chase, being maddeningly difficult to pin down, or to be an incredibly annoying support NPC for a damage dealing fiend who keeps it as a pet/associate.

Speaking of Untitled Goose Game, Tiny, who has a Patreon focusing on custom made keycaps for mechanical keyboards, sculpted this goose keycap with polymer clay:

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Two snaps to whoever named this knockoff Wednesday Addams costume

"Evil Midweek Cutie" costume available at Walmart.

(Via Kiersten Essenpreis.) Read the rest

Neural net-generated prompts for Inktober

It's Inkotober, when "artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month." In a fun experiment, Janelle Shane trained a neural net with prior Inktober prompts and picked out some promising concepts like "ornery beach sheep" and "BUG IN HUMAN SHAPE."

If you'd like to participate in the fun, pick one of the prompts and post your illustration for a chance to win an advance copy of Shane's new book:

My US and UK publishers are letting me give away some copies of my book to people who draw the AInktober prompts - tag your drawings with AInktober and every week I’ll choose a few people based on *handwaves* criteria to get an advance copy of my book. (US, UK, and Canada only, sorry)

Here are a few entries to date:

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Luke Perry's son is a professional wrestler known as "Jungle Boy"

Luke Perry's 22-year old son Jack wrestles as "Jungle Boy" for TNT's WWE competitor, All Elite Wrestling:

From the right angle, he's a dead ringer for his dad, but with even bolder sideburns:

View this post on Instagram

The only kind of belt I wear. Brand new @allprowrestling Jr. Heavyweight Dragonfly Championship. 📷 @oscar_kings_studio

A post shared by Jungle Boy • Jack Perry (@boy_myth_legend) on Apr 30, 2019 at 12:17pm PDT

At a reported 5'10" and 150 pounds, he's fairly small, but makes up for it with big air:

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I’ve changed a lot since high school. 📸 @scottlesh724 - 2019 📷 @danielglickerr -2014 #aew #allout #backflip #highschool

A post shared by Jungle Boy • Jack Perry (@boy_myth_legend) on Sep 7, 2019 at 8:01am PDT

It took him a while to warm to the name:

“I’m a big fan of Conor McGregor, and I always noticed how he’d stand before his fights in this monkey-like posture,” said Perry. “I always thought that was really cool. I did that in my first fight, when I went by Nate Coy because he is another of my favorite fighters, and the announcer told me that he had a nickname for me and said, ‘Jungle Boy’ Nate Coy.

“At first, I hated it. I thought, ‘What did he just stick me with?’ Then I started to develop the character around the name, and I love it now.

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Epstein's other island

You may have already heard about Jeffrey Epstein's Caribbean island, Little St. James, and its mysterious temple. Now, the Miami Herald has a report on the apparently nefarious means Epstein used to buy a second island called Great St. James Cay. Per the report, the owner was determined not to sell to Epstein in light of Epstein's 2008 conviction. Epstein was undeterred:

According to records examined by the Miami Herald and McClatchy, and interviews, Epstein set up an opaque limited liability company, or LLC, making it appear in the negotiations that the true owner was one Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, a wealthy Dubai businessman with connections to the royal family. A $22.5 million deal was worked out.

Only after the deal was consummated and work permits were pulled did it emerge that Epstein might be the actual owner. It wasn’t until his July arrest, however, that he officially declared in an affidavit that he owned the second island.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem asserted that Epstein made the purchase without his permission or involvement:

Sultan is his name, not his title — confirmed through an aide that Epstein had asked to use his name in an unspecified business bid but was told no.

It appears Epstein used it anyway.

And that's not the only island in the news. The New York Times reports that Lebanon's (married) billionaire prime minister gave more than $15 million to a South African bikini model.  South African authorities investigated the money and deemed it taxable income. Read the rest

The Air Force will invite hackers to try to hijack a satellite at the next Defcon

At last month's Defcon, the United States Air Force invited pre-selected hackers to attempt to sabotage an F-15 fighter-jet data system:

And after two long days, the seven hackers found a mother lode of vulnerabilities that — if exploited in real life — could have completely shut down the Trusted Aircraft Information Download Station, which collects reams of data from video cameras and sensors while the jet is in flight.

Pleased with the results, the USAF has announced that next year's Defcon will feature an assault on a satellite. There will again be a pre-screening and qualifying process:

Sometime soon, the Air Force will put out a call for submissions. Think you know how to hack a satellite or its ground station? Let them know. A select number of researchers whose pitches seem viable will be invited to try out their ideas during a “flat-sat” phase—essentially a test build comprising all the eventual components—six months before Defcon. That group will once again be culled; the Air Force will fly the winners out to Defcon for a live hacking competition.

The tentative plan is to allow the hackers to try to take control of an orbiting satellite:

“What we’re planning on doing is taking a satellite with a camera, have it pointing at the Earth, and then have the teams try to take over control of the camera gimbals and turn toward the moon”

You can find information about Defcon 28 here. Read the rest

It only looks like these Fashion Week models are being dressed by drones

Issey Miyake's presentation at Paris Fashion Week featured dancers, skateboarders, and models wearing skin tone undergarments.  Once the models walked into position, they were dressed by a mechanism descending from the air.  Contrary to a viral tweet, the delivery mechanism was ropes and pulleys, not drones:

W Magazine discussed designing for virality earlier this month:

Simon Porte Jacquemus has a simple and savvy approach as a fashion designer: Will his clothes look good on social media? So far, it has served him well. It was, for instance, the reason he created La Bomba, a straw hat so massive it could shade a small village, for his spring 2018 show. “My team said, ‘Simon, no one is going to wear these huge hats, we’ll just make a few.’ We sold hundreds,” he notes. It is also why, for the same show, he shrunk down his Le Chiquito ­handbag to absurd (and adorable) doll-size ­proportions—a move that launched a thousand memes, and resulted in yet another success. “If it’s cute on ­Instagram, it will sell,” he explains. “That’s just the world we live in.”

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A post shared by JACQUEMUS (@jacquemus) on Jul 12, 2019 at 5:30am PDT

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Electronic "sand toy" features LEDs that shift as if affected by gravity

There's a detailed guide to building the LED Matrix Sand Toy at Adafruit:

These LEDs interact with motion and looks like they’re affect by gravity. An Adafruit LED matrix displays the LEDs as little grains of sand which are driven by sampling an accelerometer with Raspberry Pi Zero!

The 3D Printed handles make it easy to hold the 64x64 LED Matrix and the two buttons make it easy to switch modes or reset simulations!

The code, written by Phillip Burgess, simulates physics by calculating collisions and terminal velocity.

It looks particularly beautiful in the dark:

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