Rotary tool for a fraction of the price of a Dremel

I've been using a Wen variable speed rotary tool since early 2017. It works as well as a Dremel tool costing several times as much, and the accessories are interchangeable. Right now, Amazon is selling it at a lower-than-usual price. Read the rest

Silly but addictive game

I don't know French, but that didn't prevent me from being able to play this web-based game. The goal is to get the ball from one pillar to the next by holding down your finger (or mouse cursor) for the right amount of time. If you don't hold down long enough the ball will fall short of its goal. If you hold down too long, the ball overshoots. My high score so far is 194. Read the rest

How to make colored smoke bombs

As a kid I set my friend's kitchen on fire melting potassium nitrate and sugar on the stove, so be careful when making these cool colored smoke bombs, which use oil pastels as pigment. Read the rest

Good deal on this USB rechargeable screwdriver

Tacklife makes good low-cost power tools. I've bought a lot of different tools from Tacklife and use them all the time. If you use code B797VDYT you can get this Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Cordless Screwdriver with 32-piece screw bits and USB charging cable for about half the already low price. Read the rest

What it was like ghostwriting for Julian Assange

In this very long 2014 essay for London Review of Books , Andrew O'Hagan wrote his experiences as a ghostwriter for Julian Assange.

I am sure this is what happens in many of his scrapes: he runs on a high-octane belief in his own rectitude and wisdom, only to find later that other people had their own views – of what is sound journalism or agreeable sex – and the idea that he might be complicit in his own mess baffles him. Fact is, he was not in control of himself and most of what his former colleagues said about him just might be true. He is thin-skinned, conspiratorial, untruthful, narcissistic, and he thinks he owns the material he conduits. It may turn out that Julian is not Daniel Ellsberg or John Wilkes, but Charles Foster Kane, abusive and monstrous in his pursuit of the truth that interests him, and a man who, it turns out, was motivated all the while not by high principles but by a deep sentimental wound. Perhaps we won’t know until the final frames of the movie.

Via Linkmachinego

Image: By Andreas Gaufer - 26c3 Wikileaks, CC BY 2.0, Read the rest

Ketamine rebuilds connections between neurons lost during stress

Ketamine has been used as a horse tranquilizer, infant anesthetic, recreational drug, and most recently, a surprisingly effective treatment for depression (which the US Food and Drug Administration approved last month). Now researchers are starting to understand how ketamine works: by rebuilding connections between neurons lost during stress.

From Chemical and Engineering News:

In a new study, researchers took a close-up gander at neurons in live mice under chronic stress, a condition that models depression in rodents. They found that a dose of ketamine helped first restore electrical activity and then rebuild physical connections between neurons that were lost during stress (Science 2019, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat8078). The observations suggest ketamine has both immediate and more sustained effects on how neurons function in the brain.

Neuroscientist Conor Liston at Weill Cornell Medicine and his colleagues implanted a prism into the frontal region of the rodents’ brains that, combined with a specialized microscope that captures images at extremely high resolution, allowed them to observe branches of nerve cells called dendrites in great detail over several weeks. They could even see tiny nubbins on the dendrites called spines, which form the synapses connecting nerve cells.

Image: Public Domain, Link Read the rest

Retired Pope Benedict XVI blames clerical sex abuse on the 1960s

The 1960s is the culprit behind the neverending barrage of clerical sex abuse incidents plaguing the Catholic Church, writes retired Pope Benedict XVI. Apparently, the 1960s is a Manson-like monster that brainwashed innocent Catholic clergy to commit unspeakable acts under its command. The 1960s must be captured and brought to justice. The 1960s should be punished for victimizing the clergy under its spell, perhaps by subjecting it to strappado, interrogatorio mejorado del agua, or one of the many other benevolent forms of treatment invented by the Catholic Church to encourage sinners to see the light.

From BBC:

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a letter which blames clerical sex abuse on the "all-out sexual freedom" of the 1960s.

He said that cultural and historical change had led to a "dissolution" of morality in Catholicism.

The sexual revolution in the 1960s had led to homosexuality and paedophilia in Catholic establishments, he claimed.

Some allegations of child sex abuse by priests that have emerged date back to decades before the 1960s.

The only solution to the problem, the former Pope said, was "obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ".

Image by Rvin88 - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link Read the rest

Drunk cop who injured woman in crash found not guilty

Portsmouth, Virginia police officer Eric Rodgers' blood alcohol concentration was twice the legal limit when he crashed his car into Mashia Williams, leaving her severely injured. He was driving at night but his car's headlights weren't on. Seven months after Rodgers ran into her with his car, Williams has not fully recovered and hasn't worked. A judge just let Rodgers off scot-free.


Rodgers' attorney Thomas Hunter argued evidence showed his client passed all the field sobriety tests without showing any signs of being drunk.

Hunter argued the only reason why his BAC was taken was because Portsmouth Police didn't want any bias towards one of its own. Anyone else would have been cut loose.

"Everybody knows that alcohol affects bodies differently, so a reading in itself, if you just went on a reading, science has also proven that that's false," Hunter said. "It's not completely accurate. It's an indicator."

The judge agreed, and found Rodgers not guilty.

Image: Read the rest

Good deal on the 42mm Apple Watch Series 3

When my father upgraded to the latest Apple Watch, he gave me his old Series 3 model. I wasn't sure if I'd use it, but after a few months, I've decided it is a net plus in my life.

The best thing about it is responding to text messages by simply holding the phone up to my mouth and talking. The natural language processing is excellent. This feature saves me a lot of time every day.

I also like getting alerts about upcoming appointments, turn-by-turn directions (with vibration) when I'm walking in an unfamiliar city, flight change alerts (via TripIt), paying for stuff with Apple Pay, buying Starbucks by pointing the watch at the counter scanner, pressing the "Find my iPhone" button (which makes my iPhone beep so I can find it), and checking time with the world clock.

Right now Amazon has the 42mm model at a really low price, much less than the smaller 38mm model. Read the rest

Why did this gentleman put a chainsaw in his pants?

It's not clear why this fellow put a chainsaw in his pants. Was he succumbing to an unspeakable urge? Was he providing ill-advised self-treatment for pruritis of the groin? Was his bladder filled with gasoline and he was simply filling the chainsaw's tank as a pay-it-forward gesture for the person who buys it? We'll probably never know the truth, because he walked out of the store with the chainsaw still in his pants and has not been seen since.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Once again, Facebook blames an algorithm instead of taking responsibility

Facebook is notorious for absolving itself of responsibility for bad behavior by offering up an algorithm as a scapegoat (examples here, here, here, here). This time Brian Fishman, Facebook’s policy director for counterterrorism, told Congress at a closed-door briefing that the New Zealand shooter video that Facebook streamed was not gruesome enough for its naughty, misbehaving algorithm to flag so please don't get mad at Facebook.

From The Daily Beast:

The members of Congress who gathered for a closed-door briefing had lots of questions for Brian Fishman, Facebook’s policy director for counterterrorism. One of the biggest: Why didn’t Facebook’s counter-terror algorithms—which it rolled out nearly two years ago—take down the video as soon as it was up?

Fishman’s answer, according to a committee staffer in the room: The video was not “particularly gruesome.” A second source briefed on the meeting added that Fishman said there was “not enough gore” in the video for the algorithm to catch it.

Members pushed back against Fishman’s defense. One member of Congress said the video was so violent, it looked like footage from Call of Duty.

Another, Missouri Democrat Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, told The Daily Beast that Fishman’s answer “triggered something inside me.”

“‘You mean we have all this technology and we can’t pick up gore?’” Cleaver said he told Fishman. “‘How many heads must explode before they pick it up? Facebook didn’t create darkness, but darkness does live in Facebook.’”

Image: Wax figure of the famous Mark Zuckerberg from Madame Tussauds, Siam Discovery, Bangkok. Read the rest

Man found guilty of using phone while driving - even though phone was dead and stored in glove box

Patrick Henry Grzelak was pulled over by police while driving his car in Surrey, British Columbia in 2018. He was wearing earbuds. The police gave him a ticket for using a cellphone while driving. Grzelak fought the ticket, arguing that he was not using the phone. It was dead and in the glove compartment. Court documents agreed: "The cellphone battery was dead. The screen was not illuminated, no music, no conversation or anything else was coming through the earbuds." The judge found Grzelak guilty.

From The Guardian:

In a decision which reads more like a philosophical treatise than a traffic court judgment, Justice Brent Adair examined what it means to “use” a phone under the law.

“The cellphone itself … was not in the defendant’s hands, or in his lap,” wrote Adair. “But that is not the end of the matter.”

Adair reasoned that by “plugging the earbud wire into the iPhone, the defendant had enlarged the device” meaning that the iPhone wasn’t just the handheld device, but also – by extension – the attached headphones.

Likening the action of plugging headphones into a phone to connecting a keyboard to a computer, Adair determined the keyboard “would then be part of the electronic device”.

Image: Anneka/Shutterstock Read the rest

Here's Japan's most famous minimalist

Sasaki Fumio has been an extreme minimalist for about 5 years. He wrote a book called Goodbye, Things. He owns approximately 150 things, including his soy sauce and vinegar bottle. In this Asian Boss interview, he describes his lifestyle. He says he became a minimalist because he is a naturally untidy person, and if he had a lot of stuff, his place would be a mess. Before he became a minimalist he says "All I did was drink and play video games," and now he is much happier. Read the rest

No food on weekends and ice-cold baths: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's 11 "wellness" habits

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey (42) walks 5 miles to work every day, eats only one meal a day, fasts all weekend, and tries to meditate two hours a day. CNBC looked at 11 of his "wellness" habits, which he discussed on a recent episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.

From CNBC:

“Nothing has given me more mental confidence than being able to go straight from room temperature into the cold,” Dorsey says. ”[E]specially in the morning, going into an ice-cold tub from just being warm in bed is — it just unlocks this thing in my mind and I feel like if I can will myself to do that thing that seems so small but hurts so much, I can do nearly anything.”

Image: By cellanr -, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link Read the rest

Stewart Brand talks about the LSD trip that inspired his Whole Earth Catalog

In this remarkable 7-minute video shot in 2016, Stewart Brand recalls his experiences as a Merry Prankster in the San Francisco 1960s, the back-to-the-land movement, hippies, and the low-dose acid trip he took that made him wonder how humanity would be affected if people saw a photo of the entire earth taken from space. This led to the creation of The Whole Earth Catalog in 1968.

Read the rest

Super low price on an Arduino clone starter kit

This kit comes with plenty of components to get you started learning how to use the Arduino electronics prototyping platform. It's at one of the lowest prices I've seen. If you don't know anything about Arduino and are curious, check out Tinkercad's Circuits website, which has an Arduino simulator. Read the rest

NYPD cop confiscates motorcycle for reckless driving, then drives it recklessly and crashes it

The New York Post reports: "An NYPD cop went on a wild dirt-bike ride in Harlem on Sunday afternoon — and injured himself when he tumbled off the bike and slammed into the road, video of the crash shows. The cop popped a wheelie, and then sped off into traffic on the bike on Lenox Avenue and 135th Street at about 6 p.m., according to the video and police."

Image: Twitter Read the rest

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