Great deal on a 6.5-inch Lodge cast iron skillet

This 6.5-inch Lodge cast iron skillet is on sale at a bargain price on Amazon today for Read the rest

Here's Robert Hazard's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" from 1979, four years before Cyndi Lauper's cover

Musician Robert Hazard (1948-2008) wrote and recorded "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" on a demo tape in 1979. Four years later, Cyndi Lauper covered it and it made her famous.

From Wikipedia:

The song was written by Robert Hazard, who recorded only a demo of it in 1979. Hazard's version was written from a male point of view. Lauper's version appeared on her 1983 debut solo record, She's So Unusual. The track is a synthesizer-backed anthem, from a feminist point of view, conveying the point that all women really want is to have the same experiences that men can. Gillian G. Gaar, author of She's a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll (2002), described the single and corresponding video as a "strong feminist statement", an "anthem of female solidarity" and a "playful romp celebrating female camaraderie."

[via r/ObscureMedia ] Read the rest

Complete run of MAKE magazine on archive.org

I was part of the team that launched MAKE: (a technology project magazine) and served as its editor-in-chief for 12 wonderful years. I just found out that archive.org has a searchable archive of all past MAKE: issues. Enjoy! Read the rest

People in Japan are renting cars, but not to drive them anywhere

Orix Auto charges $4 to rent a car for 30 min. The car-sharing company has more than 12,000 parking places, so cars are readily available. Orix learned that a large number of its 230,000 users rent cars and don't drive them anywhere. So they looked into it and discovered that people were using them to take naps, eat lunch, do work, change clothes, recharge cell phones, and store things (when storage lockers at train stations weren't available).

From Asahi:

"I rented a car to eat a boxed meal that I bought at a convenience store because I couldn't find anywhere else to have lunch,"said a 31-year-old male company employee who lives in Saitama Prefecture, close to Tokyo.

“Usually the only place I can take a nap while visiting my clients is a cybercafe in front of the station, but renting a car to sleep in is just a few hundred yen (several dollars), almost the same as staying in the cybercafe.”

Easy accessibility is a big advantage of car-sharing services. Customers can reserve vehicles any time 24 hours a day on their smartphones for immediate use.

Image: Orix Auto Corp.

[via The Verge] Read the rest

Robots made from tree branches learns how to walk

Made from servo motors and tree branches, these robots were trained to successfully walk across the floor. Read the paper. (The project was undertaken by Preferred Networks of Japan, which also made this cool website called Paintschainer that colors black and white images using AI.)

The robots were trained with "deep reinforcement learning" (DRL). Here's how VentureBeat defines DRL:

Unlike supervised machine learning, which trains models based on known-correct answers, in reinforcement learning, researchers train the model by having an agent interact with an environment. When the agent’s actions produce desired results, it gets positive feedback. For example, the agent gets a reward for scoring a point or winning a game. Put simply, researchers reinforce the agent’s good behaviors.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Great deal on Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Amazon's Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is the media player we use. I even keep an extra set with me to use in hotels and Airbnbs. Amazon is selling it as a Prime Day deal at a very low price. Read the rest

Excellent video about why the SHA 256 hash algorithm is so cool and useful

SHA 256 is an algorithm that takes a digital input of any length and returns a string of 256 bits (typically converted to 64 hexadecimal digits). It's a one-way algorithm, which means there's no known way to practically retrieve the input from the output. As far as anyone knows, there has never been an instance of two different inputs having the same output, which means the hash of an input is a reliable unique digital fingerprint.

In this 6-minute video, Matthew Weathers explains why SHA 256 is "useful for digital signatures, cryptography, authentication, and is a central part of the Bitcoin protocol." Read the rest

Gentleman decides it's a good idea to bother a mother bear with three cubs

At 41 seconds, you can hear someone call this fellow a "dumbass."

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Pranksters on sidewalk trip over nothing, surprising onlookers

As innocent people sat on a sidewalk bench in Beirut, pranksters walked by them, tripping over nothing. The pranksters were spaced out through the flow of pedestrian traffic, to make it seem more real. The people who saw the trippers were mystified. Read the rest

Manbabies react to announcement that a black woman is the new 007

"The person who sends me a screenshot of the best manbaby fan reaction to this wins a chocolate fish," tweeted Sacha Judd, linking to a GQ article with the headline: "Actress Lashana Lynch Is the New 007 in the Upcoming James Bond." The manbabies did not disappoint, as you can see from the replies to her tweet.

Tag for this post swiped from @scalzi Read the rest

Dad tricks his toddlers to stop bawling by telling them to take turns crying

An excellent parenting hack!

From the YouTube description:

The father recorded the sweet moment both his daughters calm down after throwing hysterical tantrums after they refuse to take "their turn to cry" during their holiday in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on April 25.

The trick works every time for the dad of a one, three and six-year-old saying: "I figured it out with one of my daughters a long time ago. Works every single time."

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Ask Reddit: "What book f*cked you up mentally?"

Posted today on /r/AskReddit/: "What book fucked you up mentally?"

Answers include:

Animal Farm -- "The whole thing spooked the shit out of my 13-year-old mind."

Night -- "A candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of [Elie Weisle's] survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps."

American Psycho -- "Absolutely nothing like the film."

House of Stairs -- "One by one, five sixteen-year-old orphans are brought to a strange building. It is not a prison, not a hospital; it has no walls, no ceiling, no floor. Nothing but endless flights of stairs leading nowhere--except back to a strange red machine."

Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak -- "Professor: 'I choose a book every semester to scar the students' Mission: accomplished"

A Child Called It -- "for a 7th grade book report. It's a very graphic memoir about child abuse. After turning it in, I got sent to the guidance counselor."

The Bell Jar -- "I never knew what depression sounded like before. 'To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.'"

Flowers for Algernon -- "Read it in one sitting and was broken for like 48 hours after reading it.

Johnny Got His Gun -- "is horrifying"

My pick is Level 7 - a 1959 novel. I read it in the 4th grade. It's about the last people on earth living in a deep underground military bunker after a nuclear holocaust. Read the rest

Bright work light with clamp

This battery-powered (4 AA cells, included) adjustable work light is bright and has a clamp, making it a great option for people with fewer than three arms. The clamp even doubles as a stand, so you can put it on a floor or desk while you work on your project. Read the rest

Cyclist enrages driver by blocking him from driving on wrong side of the road

London bobbies were quick to arrive on the scene after a Mercedes driver tried to drive down the wrong side of a street, endangering a cyclist. When the cyclist told the driver to back up and drive on the correct side of the street, the driver took umbrage and bumped the cyclist. Other than the driver, who was incandescent, everyone else in the video kept a stiff upper lip, enforcing a stereotype of British people. The cyclist also demonstrates a good working knowledge of the NATO phonetic alphabet when he recites the license plate number of the vehicle. Here's the video without the perpetrator's face fuzzed out.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Jimmy Kimmel interviews customers at a weed store drive-thru

Jimmy Kimmel hosted a game show called "Let's Make a Dope Deal" with customers at a weed store drive-thru in Las Vegas. People who correctly answered questions won not-so-fabulous prizes, like snow globes and Hot Pockets. Read the rest

Gentleman with fake electrical outlet sticker bedevils people in need of charging their phones

This gentleman sowed discord and strife at a rooftop party and a coffee shop by affixing fake electrical outlet stickers to walls. People in need of a smartphone charge were dismayed to discover that free electrons would not be forthcoming. Such stickers are readily available at Amazon.com, a popular "e-tail" outlet on the World Wide Web. Read the rest

Chinese oligarch sues city of Vancouver over $200,000 "Empty Homes Tax"

In recent years, Chinese oligarchs have been buying up vast swaths of Vancouver real estate as a way to park their money. They often don't set foot in the luxury townhouses they buy, which has led the Vancouver city government to issue a 1% Empty Homes Tax. A Chinese woman named He Yiju, who is married to a "top politician in China's rubber-stamp parliament" according to CNN, owns a $200 $20 million waterfront mansion and is suing the city to avoid paying the $200,000 tax bill.

She and her husband have a combined net worth of $925 million according to Forbes. $200,000 to someone with a net worth of $925 million is equivalent to $210 to someone with a net worth of $1 million.

From CNN:

In 2018, Vancouver's government ruled that He was subject to Vancouver's Empty Homes Tax, which requires owners of unoccupied homes to pay a 1% levy on their properties' value.

He [Yiju] denies, however, that the property was empty. In a petition filed last month to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, her legal team argued that the lot was being prepared for renovations pending the city issuing redevelopment permits.

He's attorney, Joel Nitikman, declined to comment when asked by CNN about the case.

Image: Shutterstock/Spiroview Inc Read the rest

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