Cover reveal for My Best Friend's Exorcism - looks like 1980s VHS rental

Back in September 2014, I wrote about the design package for Grady Hendrix's horror novel Horrorstor - a classic haunted house story set at an IKEA and designed like an IKEA catalog. The paperback cover for Hendrix's next book, My Best Friend's Exorcism, was designed by Doogie Horner. I love it!

Via Quirk Books: In 2016, Quirk released Hendrix's second horror novel, titled My Best Friend's Exorcism - a horror novel set in the 80's, that's best described as, Beaches meets The Exorcist. The book received fantastic reviews. In anticipation of the July 2016 paperback release, Quirk has worked with Australian artist Hugh Fleming to create a VHS-style cover. Fleming is best-known for his cinematic and photo-realistic style and his art turns Hendrix's excellent book into a fun object. Read the rest

Map of favorite Disney princesses by US state

What political insights can we glean from this map of favorite Disney princesses in each US State?

From Decluttr:

In second place is Pocahontas, one of the few American Disney princesses. She topped searches in 7 states, including the state Pocahontas is set in, Virginia.The most popular princess overall is Elsa from Frozen, who topped searches in 8 states. That’s no real surprise considering how popular Frozen is!

Interestingly, geography seems to play a part in which princess a state prefers. For example, Sleeping Beauty is super popular in the Midwest, while ‘cold’ princesses like Elsa and Snow White are popular in sunshine states like California, Nevada and Texas. Maybe watching them helps people cool down during a heatwave!

Beauty and The Beast’s Belle is the most popular princess in six states, including Arizona, Oregon and Idaho. We think she’ll become more popular after the new movie has been in cinemas for a few weeks though.

Read the rest

Anker's 10-port USB charger on sale for $33.59

Anker makes good stuff. Their 60-Watt 10-port USB charger can charge up to 2.4 amps per port (12 amps maximum). If you live with more than a few people, this can come in handy. It's on sale at Amazon for $33.59. Read the rest

A juicer that won't make juice unless the produce is marked with special code [Updated]

This has been out for a while, but my IFTF colleague Brad just told me about it last week. It's the $400 Juicero juicing machine. To make juice with it, you must subscribe to receive pre-masticated produce that comes in packs (priced between $7 and $10 per pack, $35 to $50 per week). The packs are marked with a QR code that the Juicero scans to make sure it is "fresh." If the pack gets "out of code" (i.e., it's produce you grew, traded, or brought elsewhere) the Juicero will reject it. It's got a built-in Wi-Fi radio, which checks the date (and monitors your use of the juicer). The machine itself seems pretty neat - it presses the juice by squeezing the fruit, but they really need to let you use your own produce.

If this appeals to you, here's a smart floss dispenser you'll probably like.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Juicero sent me an email, asking me to make some corrections to the piece:

- Produce Packs are $5 - $8 each, not $7 - $10

-The QR code is not to ensure you don’t use your own produce, it’s there to ensure that the produce is fresh, quality and to help consumers manage their Pack subscriptions. We don’t use any preservatives or additives, just fresh, organic produce, so the QR code ensures that the produce in the Packs is within the approx. 6 day shelf life. It also help you manage your Packs by enabling the Juicero App to remind you when your Packs are about to expire.

Read the rest

Interview with family that crashed dad's BBC interview

Robert Kelly and his wife Kim Jung-A talk about the now-viral BBC interview that starred their adorable children in a "hippity-hoppity mood." The article is behind Wall Street Journal's paywall, but you can watch the video without a subscription. Read the rest

How to overcome shyness

The School of Life has a video to help people overcome shyness.

Shyness is based on a set of ideas about the world that are eminently amenable to change through a process of reason because they are founded on some touchingly malleable errors of thought, Shyness is rooted in a distinctive way of interpreting strangers.

Read the rest

Man runs from one subway stop to another and catches train before it leaves

This guy jumped out of a London subway car as soon as it opened its doors, then ran up the stairs, through the station, across surface streets, into the next station, down the stairs, and jumped back into the same car before the train left. Read the rest

Very cheap laser printer toner cartridges

It was a happy day when, several years ago, we retired our color inkjet printer and bought a laser printer. It doesn't make color prints, but we rarely need them. It's fast and best of all, 3rd-party toner cartridges are dirt cheap. Amazon sells a 2-pack of the TN450 compatible high yield toner cartridge for most Brother printers for $14, or $7 each. The genuine cartridges sell for $45 each. I've never has a problem with any of the knockoff cartridges. Read the rest

Pothole in your neighborhood? Tell Portland Anarchist Road Care to fix it

The reason people like to complain about municipalities' slow response to pothole complaints is because municipalities are slow to respond to pothole complaints. But group that calls itself Portland Anarchist Road Care is taking matters into its own hands by illegally repairing potholes around town.

Snip:

Because we believe in building community solutions to the issues we face, outside of the state.

Because society portrays anarchists as only breaking windows and blocking roads.

Because when faced with anarchism as a political theory, statests often ask "But who will fix the roads."

Because the city of Portland refuses to adequately repair roads in a timely manner.

We are Portland Anarchist Road Care. We believe in community oriented direct action. We believe the state cares more about funding a militarized police force to suppress free speech than caring for and repairing the roads.

The city of Portland has shown gross negligence in its inadequate preventative care through this winter's storms, and through its slow repair of potholes as weather has improved. Daily, this negligence is an active danger to cyclists and causes damage to people's automobiles, and an increased risk of collision and bodily injury.

Portland Anarchist Road Care aims to mobilize crews throughout our city, in our neighborhoods, to patch our streets, build community, and continue to find solutions to community problems outside of the state.

[via] Read the rest

How to stop websites from auto-playing audio and videos

It's annoying when videos and audio clips start playing by themselves when you visit a web site. Here are a few ways to squelch them, via Kirkville:

For Chrome: Get the Disable HTML5 Autoplay plugin. This blocks both video and audio from playing automatically.

For Firefox: Use FlashStopper.

For Safari, there used to be an excellent plugin called ClickToPlugin, but it is no longer being updated. So to turn off autoplay videos, you need to first work in Terminal. Quit Safari, then open Terminal (it’s in /Applications/Utilities). Paste this command into the window:

defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1

Press Return, and wait a few seconds.

Image: @Goga via Twenty20 Read the rest

Why are 2.3 million people in the US locked up? This infographic explains everything you need to know

This pie chart, by Prison Policy Initiative, breaks down where and why 2.3 million people in the US are behind bars. One in five of them are imprisoned for non-violent drug offenses. "For the last 20 years, the number of arrests for drug sales have remained flat, while the number of arrests for possession have grown."

While this pie chart provides a comprehensive snapshot of our correctional system, the graphic does not capture the enormous churn in and out of our correctional facilities and the far larger universe of people whose lives are affected by the criminal justice system. Every year, 641,000 people walk out of prison gates, but people go to jail over 11 million times each year. Jail churn is particularly high because most people in jails have not been convicted. Some have just been arrested and will make bail in the next few hours or days, and others are too poor to make bail and must remain behind bars until their trial. Only a small number (187,000 on any given day) have been convicted, generally serving misdemeanors sentences under a year.

Read the rest

2-dimensional police car in Dubai

Patrolman Edwin A. Abbott is keeping Dubai's freeways safe. Read the rest

The joy of troubleshooting the Raspberry Pi

In his Lifehacker essay looking back on his five years of tinkering with the Raspberry Pi, Thorin Klosowski says one of the desirable features of the Pi is the fact that it's not easy to use right out of the box.

Snip:

The joy I get from finding a solution to some dumb problem is one of the main things that drew me to the Raspberry Pi to begin with. Thankfully, Raspberry Pi projects have gotten easier over the years. Where it was once a complicated process to build an SD card, it’s now pretty much automatic. Still, the Raspberry Pi is far, far away from being as user friendly as a PC or Mac. That’s a feature, not a bug. The Raspberry Pi is built to force you to learn troubleshooting, and that’s still one of my favorite things about it.

Before hobbyists latched onto the Raspberry Pi, it was a computer for learning how to code targeted mainly at kids. Since then, the appeal has broadened, but it’s still impossible for a project to “just work” out of the box. You will have to tweak something, dig into the command line, or spend a few hours buried in an obscure internet forum to find solutions to problems that only you seem to be having. You will slam your head against the wall, yell a little, and throw your Raspberry Pi at least once for every project you attempt to make.

For every project you complete, for every bug you squash, and for every typo you correct, comes a small, glowing feeling inside your stomach that is well worth the trouble of it all.

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Look for hidden dealer fees when buying a car

A car buying consultant named Tom McParland shows how car dealers sneak in bogus and questionable fees to pad the price. He compared invoices for the same car from two different California car dealers. One dealer charged $10,000 more for the same car.'

From Jalopnik:

Let’s have a look at this quote line by line. The MSRP on the car is $74,765. The dealer is offering a discount of $5,780 and there is a $1,500 rebate from Chevrolet, bringing the total discount $7,280. That seems pretty good for a brand new Corvette.

Then we have a dealer fee of $449, a California tire fee of $8.75 and a documentation fee of $80. All of which are within a reasonable range for additional fees in order to process the paperwork for the loan and registration.

It all goes downhill from there. There is a random non-taxable fee of $131, a “VSA fee” of a whopping $3,500 (I have no idea what this is or why it costs this much), a “Perma Plate” for $995 (license plates are already included in the DMV fees), a GAP insurance policy of $995 and a “maintenance” fee of $2,495 (You don’t really need a maintenance plan on a Corvette.) The grand total for all this comes to an extra $8,116 tacked on!

(I entered the VIN number on the invoice, and this is the car.) Read the rest

The economics of airline classes

Wendover Productions explains how airlines make most of their money from business and first class tickets. Read the rest

$6 hair clog tool for drain cleaning

Here's another shoutout to the Flexisnake drain-unclogger, which I used this morning to remove a greasy bolus of hair and muck from the bathroom sink.

I keep Flexisnakes in all of our bathrooms, and use them frequently to pull out gross blobs of matted hair clogging the sink drains. It's kind of like a long pipe cleaner with a crank. You insert it in the drain and twist the handle. The hair wraps around it. It's $6 on Amazon. Read the rest

There's a hidden wire stretched above Manhattan

Manhattan is just one of hundreds of metropolitan areas in the United States that has an eruv, which is a wire that symbolically turns public spaces into private spaces during the Jewish Sabbath.

From Mental Floss:

On the Sabbath, which is viewed as a day of rest, observant Jewish people aren't allowed to carry anything — books, groceries, even children — in public places (doing so is considered "work"). The eruv encircles much of Manhattan, acting as a symbolic boundary that turns the very public streets of the city into a private space, much like one's own home. This allows people to freely communicate and socialize on the Sabbath — and carry whatever they please—without having to worry about breaking Jewish law. Along with everything else in New York City, the eruv isn't cheap. It costs a group of Orthodox synagogues $100,000 a year to maintain the wires, which are inspected by a rabbi every Thursday before dawn to confirm they are all still attached.

Read the rest

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