Dremel clone on sale for $15

I'm very happy with this rotary tool I bought last May. It comes with 100 bits and has tons of power. Get one for $15 and grind your way to bliss. Read the rest

Drunk tourists face 10 years for spray painting ancient wall in Thailand

Liverpudlian Furlong Lee and Canadian Brittney Lorretta Katherine Schneider of Canada, both 23, are learning the hard way that getting caught spray painting graffiti on a 800-year-old fortress in Thailand is taken a bit more seriously than in their home countries. The pair face 10 years in prison for painting "Scousse Lee" and the letter "B" on the wall. (Scouser is the slang term for a person hailing from Liverpool, named after scouse, a kind of anything-goes stew.)

From Metro:

A manhunt was launched for Lee and he was arrested with Brittney Schneider, from Canada, who was with him at the time at the Mad Monkey Hostel. They said that they found the spray can on the ground and decided to spray the wall as a ‘prank’. The pair of 23-year-olds were frog-marched to the site where they confessed to the crime and have been told they could face up to 10 years in prison for desecrating a historical site. Lieutenant Colonel Teerasak Sriprasert: ‘The graffiti says “Scousse Lee”. This means “Scouser Lee from Liverpool”. The girl is called Brittney and she wrote a letter “B” on the wall. ‘Officers investigated the vandalism after it was seen on CCTV cameras. The offenders were tracked to a guest house near the same road as the wall. The accused will be investigated and prosecuted according to the law.’

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Ecuador embassy says Julian Assange is a sloppy housemate

The Ecuador embassy in London is fed up with its obnoxious boarder, Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, who has been making a nuisance of himself there since 2012. The platinum blonde 47-year-old perpetual couchsurfer found a post-it note from his housemates stuck to his door, telling him to keep his goddamn bathroom clean and to look after his fucking cat. Read the rest

Here's a 14-minute cosplay music video from the 2018 NY Comic-Con

Mineralblu produced this nice video celebrating the creative talents of cosplayers at New York's Comic-Con this year.

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Man eats squirrel brains, gets brain disorder and dies

A 61-year-old hunter died from complications of a brain disease he got from eating squirrel brains, according to a paper published in October. When the man's brain was scanned, doctors diagnosed him with a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, aka Mad Cow disease.

In 1997 the New York Times published an article titled, "Kentucky Doctors Warn Against a Regional Dish: Squirrels' Brains."

Squirrels are a popular food in rural Kentucky, where people eat either the meat or the brains but generally not both, Dr. Weisman said. Families tend to prefer one or the other depending on tradition. Those who eat only squirrel meat chop up the carcass and prepare it with vegetables in a stew called burgoo. Squirrels recently killed on the road are often thrown into the pot.

Families that eat brains follow only certain rituals. "Someone comes by the house with just the head of a squirrel," Dr. Weisman said, "and gives it to the matriarch of the family. She shaves the fur off the top of the head and fries the head whole. The skull is cracked open at the dinner table and the brains are sucked out." It is a gift-giving ritual. The second most popular way to prepare squirrel brains is to scramble them in white gravy, he said, or to scramble them with eggs. In each case, the walnut-sized skull is cracked open and the brains are scooped out for cooking.

Image: Kentucky Burgoo, by Mack Male, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Read the rest

Philips Hue dimmer switch kit for $30

I wanted to be able to control a light above our bed without having to get out of bed. The Philips Hue Wireless Dimming Kit (currently on sale for $30 on Amazon) was an easy way to do it. The kit comes with an LED bulb that connects wirelessly to the dimmer. The dimmer is mounted to the wall with adhesive tape, but you can remove it from its magnetic housing if you want to control your light from another part of the room.

The remote is much easier to use than a smartphone app (and more secure, too, I imagine). I've learned that the remote can be used to control up to 10 light bulbs.

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Evangelical leader Pat Robertson tells his flock that action against Saudis would wipe out “$100 billion worth of arms sales”

Evangelical leader Pat Robertson told his followers that just because a journalist was tortured and murdered in a Saudi consulate doesn't mean the US should stop treating the country's leaders like beloved royalty. "We’ve got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of," he told his adoring television audience. Any action against the Saudi royal family would mean losing "$100 billion worth of arms sales."

No doubt Jesus would have agreed with Robertson that it would be a profound sin to do anything to reduce the net worth of multi-billionaire arms dealers.

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How to make your own distraction-free digital typewriter

Ninjatrappeur built his own Raspberry Pi-based digital typewriter with an E-ink screen and a cheap keyboard. Total cost was about $180. He generously posted his build notes, and is seeking collaborators to help him improve on his prototype.

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Twitter says it's ok to compare Jews to insects, for now

Minister Louis Farrakhan tweeted a video clip of one of his recent speeches with the comment, “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.” Twitter says it's letting the comment stand because its policy on dehumanizing tweets is not yet in effect. The proposed policy defines dehumanizing tweets as ones that inlude “language that treats others as less than human ... Examples can include comparing groups to animals and viruses (animalistic), or reducing groups to a tool for some other purpose (mechanistic).”

From Buzzfeed:

However, a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the rules have not yet taken effect, so Farrakhan’s language is not in violation of any extant policy. The spokesperson did not give a date for when the new rule would go into effect, or if it would at all. He did not address whether Farrakhan’s tweet would be in violation were the policy in effect.

The company has in the past removed special verified status from users as a way of punishing them for offensive speech, as it did in July when it unverified Farrakhan after the minister tweeted, “Thoroughly and completely unmasking the Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan.”

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In this video, the beeps make you see something that isn't there

In this video, Caltech demonstrates the Rabbit Illusion, a "time-traveling illusion trick." It tricked me.

Caltech researchers have developed these two new illusions that reveal how the senses can influence each other—in particular, how sound can give rise to visual illusions. These illusions occur so quickly that they illustrate a phenomenon called postdiction (as opposed to prediction) in which a stimulus that occurs later can retroactively affect our perceptions of an earlier event.

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Here's what happens when you drive a 12-ton bus across a 10-ton bridge


You can see this cute bridge in California sag ominously as a heavy bus passes over it. According to the person who shot the video, "This is the 2nd bus to cross the 10-ton limit one-lane Beaver bridge." I don't think the bridge can handle many more bus crossings like this. Read the rest

Here's a Tumblr devoted to beautiful control panels

Our friends at Core77 recently found a Tumblr devoted to aesthetically pleasing arrangements of knobs, buttons, sliders, and blinking lights. What is it about a well-designed control panel that makes it so appealing?

Image: a VCS3 Putney, which sold on eBay in 2017 for US $21,665.60. Read the rest

This carved silver dollar has a surprise

The face of this 1921 silver dollar has been carved to depict some kind of scene (not sure what it is) and it includes an ingenious mechanical surprise. It brings to mind one of my favorite podcasts episodes of all time, The Mystery Show's "Belt Buckle."

This coin

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Meet the leader of one of Japan's ultra nationalist groups

Almost every time I visit Japan, I see black vans driving down the street with super loud megaphones blaring an angry rant. These vans are operated by people who are members of Japan's ultra nationalist movement. In this video, Asian Boss interviewed Shusuke Morigaki, leader of a group called Minzoku No Ishi Doumei (Alliance of the People's Will). He says he first became interested in ultra nationalism after reading about Adolf Hitler as a youngster. "I mean, yes, everybody hates him, but on the flip side he was loved by many people," he tells the interviewer. "People say, 'Don't love Hitler. Don't praise Hitler.' And if you praise him [it's taboo]. I think it's so wrong that people are educated that way."

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Here's John Oliver's take on the disappearance of Saudi journalist in Istanbul

As usual, John Oliver does a great job of explaining the circumstances surrounding the likely murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist who was last seen entering the Saudi Arabia embassy in Istanbul last week.

Turkish authorities have identified 15 Saudi men as persons of interest only hours before Khashoggi went missing. Several of them were caught on camera arriving in Istanbul. A Turkish official told the New York Times Saudi agents had dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose... Saudi officials have scrambled to explain all the suspicious activity surrounding his disappearance with the Saudis' own channel, al Arabia, claiming that the 15 people who turned up in Istanbul were just tourists, which is clearly bullshit given that flight logs showed that most of the men arrived on a private charter plane at 3:13 a.m. and that all of them departed the same day they arrived, which is a pretty weird vacation isn't it. I want to see Istanbul but only for a few hours mostly at night and it need to bring a bone saw.

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Converting die cast toy cars into post-apocalyptic combat vehicles

Gareth Branwyn has a fun tutorial on Make: about how to convert Hot Wheels and Matchbox toy cars into combat vehicles for the tabletop game, Gaslands.

In Gaslands, you put together a racing crew using die cast toy cars (Hot Wheels, Matchbox, etc) that you have modified to create combat cars. Then, using special dice and movement templates, you take turns racing through a scenario while fighting off other players’ cars using weapons and various dastardly deeds that you pay for in points as you outfit your crew. In many game scenarios, you have 50 points (called “Cans”) to spend on your cars and their weapons and special abilities.

The game has a very basic but evocative backstory where the rich and powerful have left Earth and become Martians, abandoning a dying Earth and most of its population to fend for itself. For entertainment, the Martians host an anything-goes vehicular combat reality game show, called Gaslands, back on Earth. The show is televised, and hugely popular, on Mars. Winners of each game show season earn a one-way ticket to Mars, and an escape from the miseries of Earth.

One of the most compelling things about Gaslands is that you spend around $13 for the rule book and then you have to basically build the rest of the game yourself. There are templates and markers in the back of the book to print out and mount, terrain and buildings to build, and most fun of all, you get to convert and Mad Max-ify toy cars.

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Website charges 99 cents to see who paid 99 cents to see who paid 99 cents...

I paid 99 cents so I could show you what the Who Paid 99 Cents? website looks like when you pay 99 cents. It reveals a list of people who paid 99 cents to see who else did. I'm the 334th person to pay 99 cents. Some enterprising people are entering ads instead of their names.

Business Insider interviewed the creator, Pasquale D'Silva:

When asked simply, "Why?" D'Silva said, "We pretty much build anything that makes us laugh at Thinko."

As for why anyone would pay 99 cents to see who else has done the same, D'Silva said he wasn't sure who would actually do it but that it's something simple that makes people laugh.

"People are paying because it gives them something funny they can talk about," D'Silva said. "I think people like the feeling of making other people laugh too. It's just good energy. Especially given that it's at their expense."

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