If you are a Mac user, here's how to avoid the most common kind of malware

Mac users are getting hit with Shlayer, a malware that installs an “Any Search” bar on their computer, reports Lifehacker. Read the rest

Gentleman ticketed for driving in carpool lane with plastic skeleton in passenger seat

A message from the Arizona Department of Public Safety: "Think you can use the HOV lane with Skeletor riding shotgun? You’re dead wrong! ☠︎ One of our motor troopers cited the 62-year-old male driver for HOV & window tint violations on SR-101 near Apache Blvd this morning."

(Image: Arizona Department of Public Safety) Read the rest

Kenya hit by worst locust plague in 70 years

A massive locust infestation has migrated from Somalia and Ethiopia into Kenya, reports AP News. The insects are devouring crops in a country already afflicted by widespread hunger. The United Nations warns that coming rains could increase the locust populations by a factor of 500. The most effective way to stave of the infestation is through aerial pesticide spraying, which comes with a $70 million price. "Even a small swarm of the insects can consume enough food for 35,000 people in a single day, said Jens Laerke of the U.N. humanitarian office in Geneva," says the article.

(Image: Niv Singer, CC-BY) Read the rest

Dog is a skater

According to a commenter in Reddit "This is Otto the Skateboarding Bulldog, he passed recently. This is in Lima, Peru."

My dad's friend saw this dog vibin from r/funny

[via r/funny] Read the rest

This video explains how cel shading works by looking at Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

In 2002 Nintendo released Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for GameCube. One of the great things about the title (which was not well received when it first came out but is now rated highly in the Zelda pantheon) it its pioneering use of cel shading - a stylistic technique to add shading to 3D graphics to make them look less realistic (in a bad way) and more cartoony (in a good way). Even Breath of the Wild puts the cel shading aesthetic to good use.

In the 14-minute video, "How The Wind Waker Defined Cel Shading," Michael "Jasper" Ashworth goes into interesting detail about how Nintendo "was able to pull off cel shading at a time when nobody else was able to."

If you are at all interested in 3D graphics, and the history of video games and how they were made, Jasper's video channel is a must-watch. My 16-year-old daughter told me about him a while back. He only has about 30k subscribers, and he deserves 100 times that number, given the quality of his work. Read the rest

Jane Metcalfe, co-founder NEO.LIFE, has a cool upcoming book

Kevin Kelly and I interviewed our friend Jane Metcalfe for the Cool Tools podcast. Jane is the founder of NEO.LIFE, a media and events company tracking how digital tools and an engineering mindset are transforming human biology. Prior to that, she made chocolate on a pier in San Francisco at TCHO Chocolate. Jane is probably best known as the cofounder of Wired magazine.

The Kickstarter campaign for her new book "Neo.Life: 25 Visions for the Future of Our Species" is now live.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

Offi Mag Table ($249) I love bent plywood! I also love magazines, so this bent plywood magazine holder/side table designed by Eric Pfieffer is a total winner. There is something just so satisfying about seeing a sweep of beautiful wood flow down into a curve and splash back up the other side. And that's not all. The table makes a perfect companion to your LazyBoy recliner for Sunday afternoon reading delight. But, you can also turn it on its end and use it as a makeshift work surface, which is great when a colleague has to come be in the video conference but also wants desk space to take notes. It's so good looking I used it this week on stage for an event we produced.

Souk Shopper Basket by Bohemia I used to find shopping at farmers markets physically taxing mostly because I get excited and buy way more than I can carry, always. Read the rest

Good, inexpensive silicone kitchen sink strainer

I like almost everything OXO makes. This OXO Good Grips Silicone Sink Strainer ( on Amazon) was a welcome replacement for the wire mesh one we had, because some of the wires had broken. Those little protruding wires hurt when they poke your finger. The OXO strainer is made of soft silicone and that won't hurt you. To clean the collect food debris, just pop the cup inside out in the trash. One reviewer on Amazon said it is still in good condition after four years of use. I've had mine since 2016 and it is working perfectly.

Read the rest

Meet Pantone 448 C, "The ugliest color in the world"

According to Wikipedia, Pantone 448 C has been dubbed "The ugliest colour in the world."

Described as a "drab dark brown," it was selected in 2016 as the colour for plain tobacco and cigarette packaging in Australia, after market researchers determined that it was the least attractive colour. The Australian Department of Health initially referred to the color as "olive green," but the name was changed after concerns were expressed by the Australian Olive Association.

Read the rest

Introverted man hides in shed to avoid socializing with large bull moose

A man in Alaska, approached by a  lonesome moose, opted to duck into a shed rather than find out what was on the curious capreolinae's mind.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Wuhan woman boasts about beating coronavirus check so she could fly to Paris for Michelin-star meal

The Chinese embassy in Paris has located the woman who bragged about taking pills to reduce her fever so she could fly from Wuhan to Lyon to enjoy a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, reports The Telegraph.

The woman posted on WeChat: "Finally I can have a good meal, I feel like I've been starving for two days. When you are in a gourmet city of course you have to eat Michelin [food]. Just before I left, I had a low fever and cough. I was scared to death and rushed to eat [fever-reducing] medicine. I kept on checking my temperature. Luckily I managed to get it down and my exit was smooth."

She also posted photos of her gourmet meal:

From the article:

The embassy later confirmed that her symptoms were under control.

“She claimed that in the past few days, she has taken her temperature regularly and that now she no longer has any fever or cough symptoms,” it said in a statement.

“She confirms that she has already phoned 15 (for emergency medical care) and that French medical services told her that without symptoms of fever or pain, she doesn't need to be examined."

Read the rest

New York bans cashless retail businesses

Restaurants and retail businesses in New York City will be required by law to accept cash from customers, or face fines of up to $1,500 per violation, reports The New York Post. Refusing to accept cash is unfair to the 25% of New Yorkers who are unbanked or underbanked, say drafters of the regulation. New York joins Philadelphia and San Francisco in banning cash-free establishments. Read the rest

Driver exercises poor judgment by trying to pass a truck on a narrow mountain road

This is what happens when you pretend the Pauli Exclusion Principle doesn't apply to you.

Image: LiveLeak screengrab Read the rest

If everyone hates Spirit Airlines, how is it making so much money?

Everyone likes to make fun of budget airline Spirit, which charges extra for almost everything besides a small hard seat. And yet it is very profitable. In his new role as a Medium columnist, the inimitable Rob Walker explains why the derided brand is rolling in cash. The short answer: Spirit might not be an enjoyable way to travel, but passengers know what they are getting into.

Spirit is successful, Engel suggests, “because it is grounded in honesty.” By this, he means the carrier is quite clear about its value proposition and who its target customer is, and there’s none of the “brand confusion” a customer experience when a mainstream carrier suddenly offers a bare-bones experience. “Their customer proposition is easier to understand, and in some ways has more integrity, than the offering from many other airlines,” he says. “It’s just that the product offering is not attractive to all customers.”

Spirit has delivered on what it actually promises — not on what somebody else suggests it might have promised. The brand might be a joke to pop culture but not to its customers, and it’s the latter that counts. “There’s a sizable market segment who is willing to forgo the frills for rock bottom price,” Engel says.

Image by Sunnya343 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link Modified Read the rest

I'm re-reading The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession

I'm re-reading The Emperor of Scent, by Chandler Burr. It's a non-fiction book about a guy named Luca Turin who is obsessed with odors, specifically, perfume fragrances.

Turin is a biophysicist who wrote a best-selling book that reviewed hundreds of perfumes, in the same way a wine reviewer would write about wine. He believes that the odor of a substance has to do with the way it vibrates on a molecular level. Our noses, he says, contain the equivalent of a scanning electron microscope. This flies in the face of conventional thought on the subject. The reigning theory is that smell is a function of a molecule’s shape, not the way it vibrates.

Burr makes a great case for Turin’s vibration theory, and the story of how nobody in academia will listen to Turin was a real eye opener. The peer review system for scientific journals is revealed to be totally corrupt. Read the rest

Turkey introduces a get-of-jail-by-marrying-the-child-you-raped law

Lawmakers in Turkey are hoping to pass a bill that would allow men who have sex with minors to avoid going to prison if they agree to marry their victim, reports The Independent.

From the article:

United Nations agencies warned the bill would generate a landscape of impunity for child abuse and leave victims vulnerable to experiencing additional mistreatment and distress from their assailants.

“Marry-your-rapist” bills have been seen across the world and are pushed in the name of protecting and safeguarding family “honour”.

Image by Salih Altuntaş from Pixabay Read the rest

US releases proposed rule to ban emotional support animals on planes

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking to ban emotional support animals from airplane cabins, reports Roll Call. Under the proposed rule, only specially trained dogs that assist disabled people would be permitted on planes.

From Roll Call:

The rule comes amid a spate of high-profile stories of airplane passengers trying to bring support animals, including miniature horses, capuchin monkeys and peacocks, on airplanes. Airlines facing such menageries had little specific guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration.

"Airlines want all passengers and crew to have a safe and comfortable flying experience, and we are confident the proposed rule will go a long way in ensuring a safer and healthier experience for everyone," said Nicholas E. Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, a trade association.

Cats, rats, capuchin monkeys and any animal other than a dog would not qualify as a service animal under the rule, which would limit the number of service animals a passenger can bring to two.

Read the rest

Video about heroin users who travel from Sweden to Denmark to shoot up

Vice has an interesting video about what happens when neighboring countries have different drug policies. (Uncensored version here.)

While Sweden rigidly sticks to its zero tolerance laws, liberal Denmark introduced drug consumption rooms (DCRs) in 2012, with special areas surrounding them where you won’t get arrested for drug possession if it’s for personal use. Copenhagen is home to one of the world’s largest government funded drug consumption rooms, H17, where users can safely smoke or inject their drugs with clean needles and medical staff on hand.

This has resulted in the local areas being safer and cleaner, as there are no longer thousands of used needles littering the streets. But Denmark’s liberal policy has had an unexpected consequence: an influx of heroin users from neighboring Sweden. We find out why Swedish heroin users prefer to sleep rough on the streets of Copenhagen rather than stay in Sweden, and which of these policies is most effective at tackling overdoses.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

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