• I saw Kraftwerk's 3D Tour at Red Rocks Amphitheater a couple of nights ago, and it blew my mind

    I saw Kraftwerk's 3D Tour at Red Rocks Amphitheater a couple of nights ago, and wow, it blew my mind. It's probably in my top 5 of all shows I've ever seen. It was just amazing.

    Jon Hadusek saw the kickoff show in St Louis at the end of May and had an equally mind-blowing experience. Writing for Consequence of Sound, he provides this terrific description of the show:

    The four members of Kraftwerk — founding member Ralf Hütter, Fritz Hilpert, Henning Schmitz, and Falk Grieffenhagen — finally took the stage after letting the ambient piece percolate through the venue for nearly 10 minutes. They donned what appeared to be the motion-capture onesies used for movie special effects and video game animations — an A+ fit all things considered. As the group launched into the opening medley of "Numbers/Computer World/Computer World 2," everyone who was skeptical about having to wear 3D glasses had their jaws collectively drop. A green field of numerals shot out of the screen from behind the band, seemingly coming within arms length, as if you could reach out and touch them. It would be the first in a series of visual feasts that complimented each song. Sure, 3D can be a gimmick, but like the music of Kraftwerk, these graphics were worldclass. It's also worth noting that you could take the glasses off and still comprehend the images, which were also effective in 2D, if less visceral.

    He goes on to implore you to go see the show, a sentiment I am a thousand percent on board with. They only have 5 more North American dates between now and July 10, and then they'll be in Europe for 11 shows in August and September. You really do not want to miss this one. Go get tickets now!

  • Knight Foundation invites white nationalist Tucker Carlson to speak on the future of news 

    The Knight Foundation was founded in 1950 with a goal to "support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers."

    It sounds like a worthy goal, which makes you wonder why it has invited white nationalist Tucker Carlson to speak at an event is it sponsoring called The Future of News: Trust and Polarization. It really goes against the Knight Foundation's belief in "engaged, equitable and inclusive communities," unless its definition of inclusivity is lending legitimacy to powerful anti-democratic fascists.

    From the Check My Ads Institute:

    • Tucker Carlson contributed to election disinformation, using his platform to promote stories of "meaningful election fraud" without evidence.
    • Tucker Carlson aired multiple interviews with Thomas Caldwell, the leader of the Oath Keepers, after he had been charged with seditious conspiracy. As of today, the segment is live on FoxNews.com and still frames Caldwell as a "person worthy of trust."
    • Tucker Carlson is now promoting his new film Patriot Purge, a 3-part series that claims the J6 insurrection was planned by the FBI and other national security groups. This film Is based on unsupported conspiracy theories.

    The Knight Foundation's mission states that "we believe an informed citizenry is essential for representative democracy to function effectively." Carlson runs counter to these values, intentionally leading his audience towards a white nationalist worldview.

    It's clear that Tucker Carlson does not contribute to the Knight Foundation's mission of supporting an informed citizenry. However it will continue to empower Carlson's mission to disguise his lies, conspiracy theories, and white nationalist talking points as news and journalism. The legitimacy you provide will help him continue to misinform his audience and undermine our democratic process.

    If Adolf Hitler flew in today

    They'd send a limousine anyway

    ("White Man In Hammersmith Palais" by The Clash, 1977)

  • The wandering violin mantis looks like a creature from another planet

    Hive Mother shows off her pet Wandering Violin Mantis, a remarkable insect that looks like a dried leaf and a twig.

    From Wikipedia:

    Characterized by extremely slender limbs with large appendages, it is not a particularly aggressive species and often kept as a pet, by hobbyists. The mantis is especially known for swaying its body back and forth to imitate a stick flowing in the wind. It primarily feeds on flying insects. Its native range is in southern India and Sri Lanka. It can reach up to 11 cm (4.3 in) long. The males of the species are capable of flight. They are a communal species, in that they are able to live and breed in large groups, without unnecessary cannibalism.

    Here's another look at this mantis performing its "sway to imitate a plant moving in the wind":

    Click to expand
  • TikTok's "Unreal Margot Robbie" is a perfect deepfake

    Unreal_margot is a TikTok account with deepfake videos of actor Margot Robbie. To my eye, it is Margot Robbie. A lot of TikToker viewers are wondering if it really is Robbie trolling people:

    • Ok is it her or not I'm so confused
    • No but is this account really Margot?'
    • Margo Robbie is that you?
    • Is she the real one?
    • Wait……is this Margot?😳
  • Nancy Pelosi (net worth $135 million) emails voters: if you don't give me money "it will be the single most devastating setback for protecting women's reproductive freedom"

    Yes, it's important for Democrats to be well-funded for upcoming elections, and fundraising is unavoidable. But establishment Democrats seem to think the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe V Wade is mainly an opportunity for fundraising. In this email Nancy Pelosi says if you don't send her a $15 "gift" it will "be the single most devastating setback for Democrats' chances of winning this election and protecting women's reproductive freedoms nationwide."

    This kind of email isn't much different from the ridiculous emails Trump sends to his supporters.

    I asked you Monday.

    I asked you Tuesday.

    I asked you Wednesday.

    I asked you Thursday.

    I'm truly sorry to ask you again today.

    But my team just informed me we failed to meet yesterday's FIRST End of Quarter Deadline since the Supreme Court's ruling. I won't sugarcoat this. If I don't reach 1,387 more gifts before midnight to close the budget gap, it will be the single most devastating setback for Democrats' chances of winning this election and protecting women's reproductive freedoms nationwide. If you've been waiting for a moment to step up with $15, this is it. Can I count on you?

    I just received an emergency phone call that made my heart drop.

    I'm sure Pelosi has an excellent plan for codifying a woman's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, but I don't see anything about it in this plea for money, and I don't see anything about how the money will actually be used to save democracy. I would rather donate to organizations that provide abortion services.

  • An elephant's prehensile penis is like a second trunk

    Ever since I was a little kid, my favorite animal has been the elephant. I still have my stuffed elephant I got when I was two years old, and this mug that my mother glazed in a ceramics class when I was three:

    I thought I knew a thing or two about elephants, but it was only today that I learned elephants have prehensile penises. As you might imagine, an elephant's penis is large, but it's much larger than you might think (up to five feet long). And it serves many functions! When National Geographic writer Ed Yong was in South Africa, he watched a bull elephant use its penis to "prop himself up, swat flies from his side and scratch himself on his stomach."

    Here's a video of an elephant scratching his stomach with his penis.

  • Clarence Thomas wants to make it easier to sue the media for defamation

    Clarence Thomas, who became a Supreme Court Justice despite being credibly accused of sexual harassment, has recently made it clear on at least two occasions that he wants to remove well-established libel protections by making it easier for public figures such as Donald Trump and himself to successfully sue media outlets for defamation.

    This week the Supreme Court decided not to hear a defamation lawsuit filed by a Christian nonprofit group after the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled it a hate group. Thomas dissented, saying "This case is one of many showing how New York Times and its progeny have allowed media organizations and interest groups 'to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.'"

    Last year Thomas dissented in another defamation case the Supreme Court declined to take. "The lack of historical support for this Court's actual-malice requirement is reason enough to take a second look at the Court's doctrine," Thomas wrote. "Our reconsideration is all the more needed because of the doctrine's real-world effects. Public figure or private, lies impose real harm."

    From The Washington Post:

    With his call for action on same-sex marriage and other precious American liberties, Thomas has positioned himself at the radical extreme of a Supreme Court determined to remake this country. It's fitting, then, that he stands alone this week in calling for the dismantling of a doctrine that facilitates aggressive coverage of people like Thomas himself.

  • Beer made from recycled toilet water pleases Singapore suds sippers

    I would have called it Royal Flush, but the brewers of a Singapore beer that uses recycled toilet water decided to call their new beverage NEWBrew. The manufacturer describes it as having  "a smooth, toasted honey-like aftertaste." Sounds like a pleasant way to get pissed.

    From NDTV:

    "I seriously couldn't tell this was made of toilet water," said Chew Wei Lian, 58, who had purchased the beer from a supermarket to try after hearing about it. "I don't mind having it if it was in the fridge. I mean, it tastes just like beer, and I like beer."

    In all fairness, every beverage you drink has countless water molecules that have been in human and animal urine. I have no doubt the NEWBrew is purer than Rocky Mountain spring water.

  • Illinois officials change the name of invasive carp species in hopes that people will eat them

    If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em. That seems to be the thinking at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which has been struggling with an invasive carp problem for years. Beleaguered officials there hope that giving the fish a new name — copi — will trick people into getting hungry for the sucker-mouthed beasts, reducing their population to a manageable level. The department has even created copi recipes to persuade restaurants to serve mouth-watering dishes such as "copi fresh fish tacos, a copi firehouse fish burger, and copi smoked fish dip." Yum!

    From Smithsonian Magazine:

    "The 'carp' name is so harsh that people won't even try it," Kevin Irons, assistant fisheries chief for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, tells the Associated Press' John Flesher. "But it's healthy, clean and it really tastes pretty darn good."

    In addition to giving the fish a new name, the project brings together more than 30 restaurants, distributors, processors and retailers from across Illinois, Tennessee, Arizona, and Washington D.C., all working together to get copi on more plates. The project's website even suggests recipes provided by participating restaurants, including copi fresh fish tacos, a copi firehouse fish burger and copi smoked fish dip. Funding for the project— $600,000 over five years—comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a group of federal agencies working to protect the Great Lakes, the largest system of fresh surface water in the world.

  • Corrupt Ukrainian oligarch, a close associate of Rudy Giuliani and funder of Kevin McCarthy, sentenced to federal prison yesterday

    Why would a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch want to make illegal contributions to US politicians, including House minority leader Kevin McCarthy? The GOP doesn't seem to care who Lev Parnas paid as long as the money flowed in. Besides, Parnas was a close associate of America's Mayor Rudy Giuliani, working closely with him to try to smear Hunter Biden, which cemented his reputation as being above reproach.

    Yesterday, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken sentenced Parnas to a scant 20 months in federal prison for running a fraudulent. He also fined him $2.3 million, chump change for the corrupt tycoon. His lawyer says Parnas has been working lately as a nighttime DoorDash delivery person.

    From Washington Post:

    Oetken ordered Parnas, who pocketed at least $2 million from the fraud scheme,to pay $2.3 million in restitution. It is unclear if he will be able to do so. Defense lawyer Joseph Bondy said at the sentencing that Parnas — who appeared in court with his wife and infant daughter — has "most recently" been working as a nighttime DoorDash delivery person.

    Bondy asked Oetken to treat his client with leniency because he complied with congressional subpoenas, but the judge declined to do so. "What's exceptional is that other people refused to comply," he said.

    From CNN:

    Parnas sobbed while he apologized to victims moments before he was handed the sentence.

    "These are all people that are my friends. These are all people that trusted me and I lied to them," Parnas told the court .

    "Parnas will now serve time in prison for his many crimes. Not content to defraud investors in his business, Fraud Guarantee, out of more than $2 million dollars, Parnas also defrauded the American public by pumping Russian money into US elections and lying about the source of funds for political contributions," Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

  • Kool cigarettes are made by Penguins, and this 1930s cartoon shows how

    This delightful 1930s cartoon presents the real story of how Kool cigarettes are made: cute penguins run the factory. They select only the healthiest tobacco leaves, blend them, grind cooling ice into the tobacco, then roll the ice-tobacco mixture into paper tubes and cut them into cigarettes, so they can be enjoyed by smokers who think their lungs are being soothed with cool fresh air when they are actually being coated with cancerous smoke. The penguins even make a large cigarette for Lady Liberty!

    [via r/ObscureMedia]

  • Trump's name is perfect for him: a "braying, bumptious mountebank" who repeatedly fleeces his gullible marks

    Nominative determinism is, as essayist Mark Dery explains, "the (purely hypothetical) tendency to pursue a calling or, more broadly, embody an attribute implied by your name." For instance, my daughter's orthodontist was Dr. Toth. Another example: author Bee Wilson wrote a book called The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us. You probably have examples of your own.

    For his latest Medium column, Dery dipped his pen into a fresh inkwell of aqua regia to write a hilariously caustic piece on the meaning of the word "trump" and why it's a perfect fit for Trump and his fraudulent spawn.

    The Online Etymology Dictionary traces the word back to the Old French tromper ("to deceive"), in or around the 14th century, and from there to se tromper de, "'to mock,' from Old French tromper, 'to blow a trumpet.'" The Dictionary notes,

    Brachet explains this as "to play the horn, alluding to quacks and mountebanks who attracted the public by blowing a horn and then cheated them into buying …." The Hindley Old French dictionary has baillier la trompe ("blow the trumpet") as "act the fool"…

    Has there ever been a more on-the-nose description of The Donald, a braying, bumptious mountebank who built his real-estate empire on tax evasionbilking banks, and greasing the palms of corrupt pols, with more than a little help from the tabloids and entertainment TV, then bragged about his chicanery in The Art of the Deal; a smirking, self-satisfied ignoramus and serial fabricator who conned millions into electing him president, then duped them into swallowing the patently preposterous Big Lie that he'd been cheated out of a second term, then turned around and swindled those same sapheadsit now appears, out of more than $250 million in donations to fund dead-on-arrival legal challenges to Biden's victory? (Adding insult to idiocy, a good bit of that money was diverted, it turns out, to worthy causes such as Kimberly Guilfoyle's $60,000 fee for introducing her fiancé, Donald Trump Jr., at the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally that lit the insurrection's fuse. Not bad for less than three minutes' work.)

  • This is the second time this month that a bison in Yellowstone has gored someone for getting too close

    As seen in this alarming video, a bison at Yellowstone national park attacked a family that had gotten very close to the animal. The bison charged at a small child, and as a man swept up the child, the bison gored the man in the arm. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

    From ABC 4 Salt Lake City:

    According to Goodell, the guy who was pummeled was the first to get the bison riled up. The bison then went after the older couple because the kid ran toward them.

    According to Jeremy Shaw, a Park Manager at Utah's Antelope Island, people normally get too close to bison. "They always want to get closer and closer for photos. But ultimately, any time there is a dangerous interaction with wildlife, it's because the person got too close."

    And earlier this month, a 25-year-old woman got within 10 feet of a bison, which tossed her 10 feet in the air, goring her in the process.

  • A dozen subscribers to a celebrity-backed meal kit company have had organ removal surgery after eating "French Lentil + Leek Crumbles"

    Daily Harvest, which sells meal kit subscriptions, is facing lawsuits after 470 people reported severe medical reactions and a dozen customers had their gallbladders removed as a possible consequence of eating "French Lentil + Leek Crumbles."

    Investors in the company include Serena Williams and Gwyneth Paltrow.

    From Observer:

    Daily Harvest sent out 28,000 units of their lentil crumbles between April and June, and there have since been 470 reported cases of severe medical reactions to the product. Now, nearly 100 of Marler's clients are planning to sue the company.

    According to the first of the suits, filed on June 27, Oklahoma resident Carol Ann Ready ate the lentil crumbles on two separate occasions in May. Both times Ready was hospitalized, suffering from abdominal and gastrointestinal pain. She was diagnosed with liver and gallbladder dysfunction and underwent surgery in June to remove her gallbladder.

    The French Lentil + Leek Crumbles were "contaminated by a substance injurious to human health," according to the lawsuit, which claims that Daily Harvest breached its duty to sell food "that was fit for human consumption, that was reasonably safe in construction, and that was free of pathogenic bacteria."

    On June 27, Daily Harvest founder and CEO Rachel Drori issued a statement, which said:

    We have spent the past ten days working with the FDA, state agencies and multiple independent labs, as well as experts in microbiology, food safety and toxicology to conduct testing. These tests cover common food-borne pathogens, toxins, and allergens. Results thus far have all come back negative. At this point, despite consulting with numerous experts, cooperating with FDA's investigation, working with our supply chain, and conducting extensive testing, we have not yet identified a cause.

  • Indian government censors tweets critical of Indian government censorship

    Earlier this week Twitter disclosed that it had complied with an order from the Indian government in 2021 to remove tweets criticizing the Indian government's censorship.

    From Entrackr:

    The tweets promote Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2021 report. Entrackr has reviewed a copy of the disclosure by Twitter. This content is no longer visible in India, but much of it remains available on Twitter in other countries.

    "People were detained for questioning the government's policies online, while connectivity restrictions beginning in August 2019 continued in Indian Kashmir," text in an image accompanying one of Freedom House's tweets said. The tweets all use a version of the world map with borders India disputes, a possible reason why they were singled out for compliance.

  • Kamala Harris disappoints in CNN interview: "Do what now?"

    Vice President Kamala Harris seems out of ideas for saving abortion rights in the United States. In this CNN interview, she comes off as bored, tired, defensive, and unhappy to be there.

    CNN:
    What do you say to Democratic voters who argue "Wait a minute, we worked really hard to elect a Democratic president and vice president, a Democratic-led House, a Democratic-led Senate. Do it now."

    Harris:
    Do what now? What now? I mean, we need, we, listen, what we did, we extended the Child Tax Credit.

    CNN:
    I'm sorry, when I say "Do it now," yeah, act legislatively to make abortion rights legal.

    Harris:
    We feel the same way. Do it now. Congress needs to do it now in terms of permanently putting in place a clear indication that it is the law of the land that women have the ability and the right to make decisions about their reproductive care and the government does not have the right to make those decisions for a woman.

    "Do what now?" How about adding more seats to the Supreme Court immediately to protect democracy from going down the drain? How about eliminating the filibuster so the minority party that rules the country and is turning into a christofascist dictatorship is put in check?

  • "Gluttonous accumulation of wealth": Wife of solar Ponzi schemer sentenced to 11 years

    Paulette Carpoff (48) was sentenced to 11 years and three months in federal prison for her role in a scam that bilked a billion dollars from investors in a bogus solar energy company. She was also ordered to pay $661 million in restitution. Carpoff's husband, Jeffrey (51), had been sentenced to 30 years in prison seven months earlier by the same judge. Prosecutors said the Carpoffs used investors' money to fund a lavish lifestyle:

    From The Sacramento Bee:

    The couple used the money derived from the scheme to invest in lavish collections of automobiles, high-end vacation properties and sports ventures. "This included luxury real estate in Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, the Caribbean, and Cabo San Lucas, over 150 luxury and collector vehicles, a private subscription jet service, lavish jewelry, and massive amounts of cash stashed throughout their home, office, and cars," Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hales wrote in the government's sentencing memorandum. "The nature and circumstances of Carpoff's crimes deserve a substantial sentence."

    After the trial, Carpoff's defense attorney said, "This is a dark day for the Carpoff family, but it's a day she's had coming for quite a while. She will continue to unravel the damage this scheme has wrought on people throughout the country."

    Carpoff will begin serving her sentence on August 23.

  • Prideful gentleman with blue checkmark gets humiliated by Lake Superior on Twitter

    Tom Litton, a very stable genius who prides himself on his brawny biceps and strapping back as much as his Mike Huckabee-style sense of incisive wit, entered into an argument with Lake Superior's Twitter account over abortion rights and came out soaking wet.

    "This lake vehemently stands with women having the right to choose," tweeted the Lake, which has 143.2K followers.

    Mr. Fitton (1.5M Followers), taking the bait, riposted: "Water is wet and abortion kills a human being."

    Lake Superior deftly dunked the muscle-bound wag with a fact and a flourish: "Thomas, not even your first talking point is correct. Water is not wet, what water touches is wet. I'm confident I have a lot more experience in making things wet than you do."

    Oooh — burned by water!

    Try flexing harder, Mr. Fitton.

  • Why is the government taking UFOs seriously now? Watch this PBS explainer video to find out

    I've been out of the loop with all the recent revelations of government reports about UFO sitings and grainy US Navy videos that look like video artifacts. I'm glad I spent 13 minutes watching this PBS video, which explains what the deal is.

    Highlights from the video:

    • UFO sightings have been recorded throughout history over centuries but it wasn't until June 24, 1947 that the UFO frenzy in the United States really took off. July 2nd, 1947 commemorates the incident that took place in Roswell, NM.
    • In 2005, 24% of Americans polled said they believed in alien visitation
    • In 2022, 41% said they believed UFOs are alien spacecraft
    • On May 17, 2022 Congress had its first hearing on UFOs/UAPs in over 50 years in response to pressure from advocacy groups for more transparency and declassifying information.
    • In 2022, NASA announced that they're also joining the hunt for UFOs