Hakko micro cutters will flush cut wires

If you do soldering work, I recommend getting a pair of these micro flush cutters. They'll cut copper wires flush with the blob of solder, making your work look tidy. Read the rest

This tribute to 80s entertainment is a good argument that the 80s sucked

I used to think the 1970s was a bad decade for pop culture. But the 70s gave us A Clockwork Orange, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Deliverance, Jaws, Taxi Driver, The Buzzcocks, Fishbone, The Ramones, Earth, Wind & Fire, Breakfast of Champions, and Surfacing.

It turns out the 1980s was the terrible decade for entertainment, as evidenced by this video "tribute to '80s Entertainment." Read the rest

Alabama principal does a great parody of Can't Touch This to promote Covid safety

"Hammer Time" becomes "Sanitize"  when Dr. Quentin J. Lee an Alabama principal, "sings a rap song about Covid to MC Hammer's classic hit of 'Can't Touch This.'" Read the rest

Animal Rights group offers reward to find person who put "Trump 2020" sticker on a bear

Someone attached a "Trump 2020" sticker to a bear's tracking collar in North Carolina and an animal rights organization called Help Asheville Bears is offering $5,000 for information.

From CNN:

"Whoever put these political stickers on these bears is cruel and heartless," HAB wrote in a Facebook post. "HAB and our followers hope to stop and expose you. This is now the second bear this happened to, which can only mean either someone in the study is doing this or it is someone in the public. Either way, a full investigation needs to be done."

Image: CNN Read the rest

Watch - interview with James Lovelock (age 101) on the Coronavirus

James Lovelock, the NASA scientist who came up with the theory that the Earth is a self-regulating system (known as Gaia theory) recently celebrated his 101st birthday. In this BBC interview, Lovelock discusses the Coronavirus, and how the human race is an "opportunity for the virus. If you go on building at the population, it's almost inevitable that something is going to say, geez, there's a lot of stuff to eat there. Let's go get it."

He also talks about entering his second century of life: " I've never been so happy. I had always thought the moment you passed 100 life started going downhill and it was miseries and staggering all over the place. Well, I may stagger, but I couldn't care less,  it's really enjoyable." Read the rest

Police mistakenly pull black family out of car at gunpoint, put them on ground in handcuffs

On Sunday, police in Aurora, Colorado spotted a car with a license plate number that matched a stolen motorcycle, so they sprang into action. Guns drawn, the white cops forced the occupants -- a young black mother and four girls (one just 6 years old) -- to lie on their stomachs in a parking lot. Two of the girls were handcuffed.  In a video shot by a bystander, the children, clearly in terror, can be heard crying and screaming.

Aurora’s police chief said the incident was a "misunderstanding."

From The Washington Post:

The department’s interim chief, Vanessa Wilson, said police officers must be allowed to deviate from the written procedure depending on the different scenarios they face in the field.

In a statement on Twitter Monday, she publicly apologized to the Gilliam family and offered age-appropriate therapy to the children involved in the incident. Her agency would examine new practices and training around high-risk stops, she added.

Yet Teriana Thomas, Gilliam’s 14-year-old niece and one of the girls who had been pinned down, said there was little the police could do to regain her trust.

“It’s like they don’t care,” she told KUSA. “Who am I going to call when my life is in danger?”

Read the rest

These Lego control panels will teach you all about physical interface design

Lego has a two-stud brick with a 45° slope that's used as a control panel on various vehicle kits, from automobiles to underwater craft to extraterrestrial shuttles. George Cave, a senior interaction technologist at KISKA in Salzburg Austria, collected 52 different Lego control panels and use them in a terrific mini-course in physical interface design.

Here's an excerpt:

Differentiating inputs

What could cause 400 WWII pilots to raise the landing gear on their B-17 bomber just before touchdown? Catastrophic pilot error, or something more fundamental?

It was the psychologist Alphonsis Chapanis who first suggested that the high rate of crash landings might be the fault of poor interface design. The adjacent landing gear and flap control knobs were identically shaped. The pilots never stood a chance.

B-17 belly landing, and the shape coding that helped to irradiate the problem. Source: Wikipedia

His temporary solution was to glue differently shaped strips of rubber to each switch, enabling blind operation by touch alone. This gave rise to the idea of shape coding and a system of differentiation still being followed in aircraft cockpits today.

We can compare the three interfaces [at the top] to see this in action. Ignore the overall layout, it’s the differences between individual switches that matter here. Imagine trying to feel for one of these buttons without looking. The left panel (“Slope 45 2 x 2 with 12 Buttons”) would require careful hand-eye co-ordination. The right panel (“Aircraft Multiple Flight Controls”) clearly distinguishes between the throttle (large, linear vertical movement), toggle switches (round vertical flick) and the push buttons (square push-in).

Read the rest

Enjoy the boss radio sound of KHJ 93 Los Angeles

Here's an item from the latest issue of my weekly Recomendo newsletter:

One of my favorite things about Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was listening to clips of 93 KHJ, a radio station that pioneered the “boss radio” sound in the 1960s. The DJs were all vocal virtuosos, and the most talented of the bunch was a guy by the name of “The Real Don Steele.” Almost all of these broadcasts have been lost to time, but fortunately, some people recorded KHJ on their tape recorders in the 1960s, and the recordings found their way to the Internet. The Internet Archive has a couple of recordings from the 1960s of Steele’s show on KHJ. Here’s another, and another (with other KHJ DJs, too). If this kind of thing interests you, you can dig up more by searching “khj airchecks.” Read the rest

Sammy Davis Jr. describes his disastrous performance in Osaka

In 1971 the great Sammy Davis Junior told Dick Cavett about the time he bombed on stage in Osaka in a nightclub attended by "elderly Japanese people." Davis gives quite a performance merely recounting the story.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

I prefer Gum Soft-Picks to flossing

Gum Soft-Picks do a better job than toothpicks or floss for cleaning food and plaque from between my teeth. For me, it's just much more convenient than using dental floss. The rubbery green brush pushes out all the gunk without hurting.  You can buy them in packs of 50, 100, 150, or 300.


  Read the rest

Musicians Superstar and Star need help

A lot of people need help right now with food and housing. The musician Superstar and Star are two such people, and they are facing eviction from their home. Superstar starred in King Baby, a movie directed by Case Esparros that my daughter appeared in, and everyone in the cast and crew became Superstar's friend because he's a warm and caring person. I met him during the screening of the film and was struck by his kindness.

Superstar's friends have set up a crowdfunding effort to help support Star him and keep them from being evicted from their home in Omaha, Nebraska.

Read the rest

Gentlemen arrested for buying a $140,000 Porsche and several Rolex watches with fake checks he printed with home computer

Casey William Kelley, age 42, enjoyed the good life for a few days when he came up with the idea of printing phony checks, say police in Florida. They accused  Kelley of using one of the fake checks to buy a swell-looking Porsche 911 Turbo for $139,203.05, and another check for $61,521 to buy three Rolex watches.

From The Palm Beach Post:

However, the jeweler kept the watches until it could be determined if the check would cash. Thursday, it was reported to WCSO that the check was a fake.

When arrested Wednesday afternoon, Kelley told investigators he printed out the cashier’s checks from his home computer and did not get them from his bank.

Kelley was transported and booked into the Walton County Jail without incident.

Read the rest

Giant freshwater fish attacks woman and tears a chunk out of her leg

Kim Driver was wading chest-deep in the Winnipeg River with her husband and friends when she suddenly screamed "Someone's got my leg," before being pulled underwater. Vice reports that the "someone" was a muskie, a fish that "can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh more than 50 pounds." it also has very respectable teeth.

Kim fought her way to shore, and Terry and his friends shifted from disbelief to panic mode as they saw the extent of the damage along her right calf.

“It completely engulfed her calf from pretty much knee to ankle,” Terry said.

“As soon as we saw the wound and the blood we knew it was a muskie, because we’re all fishermen out there. Nobody’s ever seen one do that before. Nobody’s ever seen one T-bone someone’s calves.”

Thankfully, the couple’s beach crew included nurses and Ontario Provincial Police officers, who administered first aid while they told Terry to get his truck and rush her to a hospital in Kenora.

  Read the rest

After airlines stop serving warm nuts, a Texas supplier is stuck with 87,000 lb of them

GNS Foods of Arlington, TX supplies nuts to airlines. Now that Airline traffic has taken a nosedive, the company is stuck with 42 excess tons of cashews, pistachios, pecans, and almonds. They've taken to selling them at their retail store for $6 a 1.25 lb bag, "selling for less than they cost GNS wholesale, even though the company has to roast, season and bag the nuts," says U.S. News and World Report. Read the rest

NYTimes shows video of Trump's Covid lies to people around the world

What do people around the world think of Trump's response to the coronavirus in the United States? The New York Times showed a video of the things Trump has said about how the United States is handling the pandemic to people in other countries and asked them for their opinion. Most of the viewers were aghast, bemused, sad, or angry at Trump's boastful lies about how well he was dealing with the disease. Read the rest

Tourist snaps toes off Italian sculpture while taking a selfie

An Austrian visitor to the Gipsoteca Museum in Possagno, Italy posed for a selfie while sitting on an original plaster cast sculpture created in 1804 by Antonio Canova. The gentleman managed to snap off two of the figure's toes before making a hasty exit.

Via The Art Newspaper

The tourist, identified as Austrian by the museum, “sat on the sculpture of Paolina Bonaparte… then left the museum in a hurry without reporting the incident”, officials say. The museum adds that guards discovered the damage “a few minutes later and raised the alarm”. One commentator responded on Facebook however: “How can you sit on a sculpture? We need to put up more security… You can’t get this close.”

Read the rest

This devastating video encapsulates the Trump/GOP horror show in 3 minutes

A Boing Boing reader said this video by Juice Media is better than what The Lincoln Project is doing. I agree -- it's scarier and more entertaining than the Lincoln Project's videos. However, I think Juice Media's videos and the Lincoln Project videos are geared toward different audiences. The video above is designed to convert unlikely voters into Biden voters, while the Lincoln Project videos are for an audience of one, with a goal to demoralize and destabilize him. Read the rest

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