• A Black 10-year-old girl with ADHD was handcuffed at school and jailed for a sketch she made in response to being bullied

    The ACLU says police handcuffed, brought to jail, and questioned 10-year-old girl for a sketch she drew at school. Neither the school nor the police informed the girl's mother that she'd been taken from the school.

    From an Oct. 18 ACLU press release:

    On the morning of January 10, 2020, a parent complained to school officials about a sketch N.B. and other students had drawn in response to another student bullying N.B. The parent unreasonably insisted that school officials call the police.

    After arriving on school grounds, police interrogated 10-year-old N.B., handcuffed her with excessive force, arrested her without probable cause, and transported her to the police station—all without letting N.B. see or speak with her mother. The police and school officials took these traumatizing actions despite the fact that N.B. was cooperative and did not pose any danger to any person or herself—and without accommodating N.B.'s disability, which was documented with the school.

    That same morning, school officials called Ms. Taylor to the premises. After her arrival, however, the police and school officials detained her in another room, away from N.B. They refused to let Ms. Taylor see her daughter or fully inform her of the underlying situation, despite Ms. Taylor's repeated requests. After they finally released her from the room, Ms. Taylor learned, to her horror, that the police were taking her daughter to the police station. By the time N.B. was finally released to her mother at the police precinct, she was hungry, exhausted, and had been in the school or HPD's custody for over four hours.

    From the ACLU demand letter:

    On January 13, 2020, Ms. Taylor [the girl's mother] delivered a grievance letter to Honowai Elementary and Leeward District Superintendent Keith Hui. In the letter, Ms. Taylor explained how on January 10, 2020, she and her daughter had been illegally detained, her daughter interrogated without her consent, and N.B.'s documented disability ignored. Ms. Taylor explained:

    Although I was at Honowai Elementary, I was not properly informed or had knowledge that my daughter was removed from the premises, handcuffed in the presence of staff and her peers, placed into a squad car and taken away. I was stripped of my rights. as a parent and my daughter was stripped of her right of protection and representation as a minor. There was no understanding of diversity, African American culture and the presence of police involvement with African-American youth. My daughter and I are traumatized from these events and sure that there is no future for us at Honowai Elementary. I'm disheartened to know that this day will live with [N.B.] as a memory forever.

  • Watch: idiotic truck driver fills restaurant with black exhaust

    Sociopathic diesel truck drivers are fond of removing exhaust emissions equipment from their trucks to produce thick black smoke on demand, a practice known as "rolling coal."

    Coal rollers delight in dirtying the air because they imagine it upsets environmentalists and liberals. From The New York Times: "Coal rollers' frequent targets: walkers, joggers, cyclists, hybrid and Asian cars and even police officers. A popular bumper sticker reads 'Prius Repellent.'"

    In this video we see a coal roller who had a ball directing smoke into a restaurant filled with children.

    When Trump declares himself the winner of the 2024 presidential election, he'll likely appoint to driver to head the EPA.

  • What will you run through the Big Squeeze tube squeezer

    The Big Squeeze tube squeezer is a shining silver anachronism hanging from my garage wall by a simple nail pounded into a stud. This heavy-duty, all-metal industrial device can extract every last usable drop from any tube you care to run through it: Paint tubes, toothpaste tubes, even the metal cylinders of lithium grease that they sell at auto parts stores. All are food for this ravenous, geared monster. I often hold it at arm's length and admire the polished metal under my grip. Although many would call me mad for being interested in such an apparatus, I care not about what they think of me; I thrive on squeezing items down and making them flat. 

  • Watch: Nicole Kidman plays Lucille Ball in "Being the Ricardos" biopic

    I can't believe how many movies and TV series Nicole Kidman has been in lately! I'm looking forward to her role as Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin's biopic, Being the Ricardos, which premieres on Prime Video on December 21.

    From the YouTube description:

    Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) are threatened by shocking personal accusations, a political smear and cultural taboos in Academy Award-winning writer and director Aaron Sorkin's behind-the-scenes drama Being the Ricardos. A revealing glimpse of the couple's complex romantic and professional relationship, the film takes audiences into the writers' room, onto the soundstage and behind closed doors with Ball and Arnaz during one critical production week of their groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy.

  • Spectrum threatens to ruin ex-customer's credit record unless they re-subscribe

    Steve Schklair of Altadena, California received a "one-time courtesy" letter from Spectrum threatening to ruin his credit record unless he resubscribed to the cable service.

    "A well-established credit history will more likely allow you to qualify for lower mortgage rates, better chances for obtaining credit cards and approvals for home rentals," said the letter. "You have worked hard to build a great future for yourself and your family. We look forward to welcoming you back."

    In other words, "Nice credit record you got there, it would be a shame if something happened to it."

    From the LA Times:

    A Spectrum spokesperson confirmed the letter's authenticity and called it "an opportunity to reconnect" with the cable company. Spectrum partners with the Los Angeles Times on a nightly TV show.

    All subscription-based businesses work hard to retain and renew customer relationships. It's common for such businesses to entice former subscribers to return with discounts and sweetheart deals.

    I've never before seen a pitch that so blatantly threatens harm unless you come around.

    The Spectrum letter tells Schklair that, despite his alleged fiscal irresponsibility, resuming cable service will allow him "to come back in good standing as a new customer."

    "And when you become a customer," it says, "we will both remove your debt and cease reporting it to any credit bureau."

  • These elastic bands attach to chairs and give people with ADHD a nice way to fidget

    I haven't been tested for ADHD but I fidget a lot. I wish I had a chair that worked with the elastic bands, because they look like a lot of fun to stretch and bounce my legs off.

    From Core 77:

    Those are elastic "chair bands" sold by Amazon retailer Ozio, and they're intended for schoolkids with ADHD, ADD, autism, and/or SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). Essentially, the child can freely fidget with the bands with their feet during class, which the retailer says helps promote calmness and increases attentiveness.

  • Profile of former yakuza member who has opened a small noodle-restaurant in Japan

    Ten years ago the Japanese government started cracking down on the yakuza, a once-powerful crime syndicate. Japan's National Center for Removal of Criminal Organizations says there were 70,300 yakuza members in 2011, and only 25,900 by 2020.

    New laws made it impossible for yakuza members to "open bank accounts, rent homes, get insurance or obtain cellphones," reports The Washington Post. Former members are trying to make a living in legitimate businesses, such as opening a 13-seat noodle restaurant.

    Over three decades, [noodle chef Takashi] Nakamoto rose through the ranks ofthe Kudo-kai, a violent syndicate of the once-powerful yakuza, a Japanese criminal network whose membership has been chipped away by more-aggressive law enforcement.

    So when Nakamoto tried to open up his restaurant in Tsuji's shopping district — while he was still under the five-year ban — the cards seemed stacked against him.

    But Nakamoto built individual relationships with other vendors, was honest about his time with the Kudo-kai, picked up trash from the street and volunteered for the shopping district's festivals and events.

  • Woman brings megaphone on plane to lecture passengers about Covid and her beauty

    Even when the flight crew warned a woman that they would handcuff her, she continued to parade up and down a plane aisle with a mic and amplifier to share her thoughts on the origins of the pandemic and how "I'm not terrible to look at."

    From the International Business Times:

     "I brought my microphone. I'm going to use it," the woman says while standing in the aisle when the flight attendant asked her to get back to her seat. 

    A flight staff then says she will have to be handcuffed if she does not sit down, to which the woman replies that the passengers are enjoying her show.

    "I don't need to be cuffed," she says. "I'm completely harmless. Also, I think you're all enjoying this because, as I said, I'm not terrible to look at," she adds.

    The woman then walks down the aisle as she lectures: "The reason the pandemic started is that nobody here has any more faith because you're all stuck to your stupid devices and you don't even know what reality is anymore."

    When the staff eventually pulls her away from the aisle and guides her back to the seat, she yells: "My dog has better sense than any of you."

    @jawny

    someone come get her

    ♬ original sound – JAWNY
  • The wild world of bitcoin erotica

    Alison Fensterstock writes about a romance novel genre featuring bitcoin billionaires:

    The plot of the series revolves around a secret cabal of investors who bought bitcoin when the price was in the single digits and now, in the present day — after something like 6000% growth over a decade or so — collectively holds enough of the world's available bitcoin wealth to actually manipulate the market. Each one will eventually get his own erotic book; so far there are two, with a third being teased in the Kindle store.

    She also looked at author BJ Slippy's series, Bitcoin Bimbo, starring an "undercover interplanetary narcotics officer who has to have quite a lot of sex in order to chase down a cartel selling drugs that temporarily switch your genitalia from a penis to a vagina or vice versa."

    There's one gloriously wacky outlier in the small collection that comes up when you use the highly scientific tactic of searching "bitcoin romance" on the Internet. This is a rollicking and dirty read by a person writing under the name B.J. Slippy, titled Bitcoin Bimbo. Set in a post-financial-apocalypse future, the story follows an undercover interplanetary narcotics officer who has to have quite a lot of sex in order to chase down a cartel selling drugs that temporarily switch your genitalia from a penis to a vagina or vice versa. The morality of bitcoin wealth doesn't come up, really, since in this world, the cryptocurrency is basically incidental to a plot that includes micro-robots that can be taken like pills (which increase sexual sensation, mental acuity and workplace productivity, as well as making semen taste like watermelon), 3-D printed strap-on dildos, and an elevator that takes you to Mars, which as portrayed in Bitcoin Bimbo seems a lot like Burning Man. But even in this wildly imaginative and porny sci-fi fantasy, our protagonist waxes romantic about the pension and benefits that come with being a space cop. Even in the 22nd century, the idea of a secure retirement is very hot.

  • With these gloves, I became the conqueror of my backyard

    The hulking weeds loomed over me, casting their dark shadows across the serene ground. Their twisted vines had wormed their way into the earth, seeping into the soil like a cancer, staking an illegitimate claim on this blessed place. They mocked me as I tried to wrest them from the ground with my hands, but they would not budge. Defeated, I slinked back to my meager shack, inconspicuous in a remote woodland village miles away from any society or modern convenience, to resume my miserable career as a blogger.

    But today, they shrivel at the sight of my textured bamboo gardening gloves, a gift from a stranger with a mind beyond human comprehension, who spoke of things I dared not understand. The gloves afford me a grip so strong that I tear each weed from the ground as a prehistoric reptile would tear its prey, and I hurl the weeds into the hole I have dug for them.

    Layer by layer, I remove the weeds from the ground, until the earth is revealed, naked and unashamed. I look closely at the soil, sniffing its deep, pungent scent. This dirt, these ungodly grubs that inhabit it, I own them. I own them not because I crawl across the ground like a dog, but because I am the apex predator of the earth. I am above this soil. I am above these weeds. I am above all that is weak. I OWN THIS GROUND.

  • The novelty effect: how switching to a different word processor can improve your writing

    Writer Clive Thompson (a frequent contributor to Boing Boing) has an excellent regular column at Medium. One of his recent pieces is about how he switches to a different word processor when he is revising a draft. He says seeing the words in a new window, font, or interface gives him the distance he needs to see the work with fresh eyes. Clive thinks (and I agree) this is a example of the Novelty Effect:

    So — why did switching to an odd new writing environment suddenly unlock me?

    I think it's because of what's known as the "novelty effect": Whenever we change our technological environment, our performance temporarily improves. There's something about the just-slightly-off strangeness of our new situation that reinvigorates us.

    Psychologists first noticed the novelty effect back in the 1930s, during a fascinating experiment at the Hawthorne factory of Western Electric. Federal researchers decided to change the lighting levels to see if it would improve the productivity of the workers. At first, the researchers raised the lighting levels. Productivity went up! Then they experimented with lowering the lighting levels. Again, productivity went up.

    This is what's so interesting about the novelty effect: It almost doesn't matter what type of change you make to your work environment — just so long as you make change. So long as it renders your work slightly askew, you get a novelty effect. (Trivia: Because the discovery was made at the Hawthorne factory, it's also sometimes called "The Hawthorne Effect".)

    This, I think, explains a big part of why switching to my old computer suddenly jolted me into a mindset for re-writing. The old version of Word — and the different laptop screen, and even the crappy old keyboard — made the file feel suddenly different.

  • Judge sentences pair of rioting cousins to longer prison term than government's recommendation

    Two of Trump's very fine supporters, Robert Bauer and Edward Hemenway, were sent to prison for 45 days for participating in the Capitol riot. What makes it interesting is the prosecutors asked for just 30 days, but the judge didn't think that was sufficient.

    To add to the merriment, the delightful lads are cousins and share similar traits. They wear matching camouflage Trump caps, enjoy rioting, and have criminal records — Little Eddie (38) went to prison for sexual battery in 2006, while older cuz Bobby (44) has multiple drug convictions. If that doesn't spell M-A-G-A I don't know what does!

    From The Independent:

    It is the third time Judge Chutkan has sentenced a Capitol rioter above the government's recommendation. She ordered Dona Sue Bissey to 14 days in prison despite prosecutors asking for probation, and gave Matthew Mazzocco prison time despite the recommendation of home confinement.

    Mr Bauer and Mr Hemenway were the 16th and 17th rioters sentenced so far. With more than 600 still facing criminal charges, sentences beyond recommendations by prosecutors will be closely watched by other defendants considering plea deals.

  • Dubai tortures and imprisons man for 25 years for having non-psychoactive CBD oil

    Ah, Dubai, the sparkling desert miracle of splendiferous opulence! Where else can you get tortured and imprisoned for 25 years for having a bottle of non-psychoactive CBD oil?

    That's what happened to Billy Hood (24), a UK man who moved there to coach children's soccer. According to The Independent, Dubai police regularly monitor WhatsApp messages for "CBD," and that's how Hood was nabbed. "A week before Mr Hood's arrest the friend who owned the vape liquid sent him a message telling him he had forgot it in his car." (CBD oil is legal in the UK and many other parts of the world that recognize human rights.)

    So even though the CBD oil didn't even belong to Hood, the cops raided Hood's apartment, searched Hood's car, and found CBD vape oil in his car. They tested Hood's blood for drugs, the test came back negative.

    He was arrested and charged with "drug trafficking with intent to supply," and given a 25-year prison sentence.

    From The Independent:

    Alfie Cain, a football agent, claimed that Mr Hood had been beaten for five days as officers from Dubai's CID tried to force him into confessing to drug crimes.

    Mr Hood had only signed the drug trafficking "confession", written in Arabic, because he was exhausted and in pain, and because officers said they would stop beating him if he did, it was alleged.

    Mr Cain was quoted by The Sun as saying: "It's been bad in Al-Barsha, I'm not going to sugar coat it.

    "When they took him to the CID drugs unit they beat him for an entire five days, he told me police officers tasered him, slapped him in the face and all they fed him was bread and little bit of water. He was basically tortured and put in a cell with 30 other people for five days.

    If you're interested in visiting Dubai to enjoy "sunny adventures, incredible cuisine, epic entertainment and the thrilling Expo 2020," visit its official website. Bon voyage!

  • Watch the inventor of the maglev train demonstrate magnetics

    It's comforting to know that Professor Eric Laithwaite (1921-1997) former Professor of Heavy Electrical Engineering at Imperial College London and inventor of the maglev trains felt the same way as Insane Clown Posse about magnets.

    His opening remark in this 1975 video is "Permanent magnets are difficult things to understand. In fact, if we're absolutely honest with ourselves, we don't understand them." This is just a posh way of saying, "Fucking magnets, how do they work?"

    From Aeon:

    Well-regarded in his time as both a lecturer and an engineer, Laithwaite presents a series of demonstrations that build, step by step, until he finally unveils a small maglev train model. The first commercial maglev train debuted at Birmingham Airport in 1984, and today Laithwaite's engineering breakthroughs help power many of the world's fastest trains.

  • Panic In Year Zero (1962), a survival science fiction film was just uploaded to the Internet Archive

    I've never heard of Panic In Year Zero! (a.k.a. End of the World), a 1962 science fiction movie starring Ray Milland about a family that survives a nuclear explosion in Los Angeles. It was just uploaded to the Internet Archive and I've got it bookmarked to watch later. The jazz soundtrack at the beginning is great!

    From Wikipedia:

    Harry Baldwin (Ray Milland), his wife Ann (Jean Hagen), their son Rick (Frankie Avalon), and daughter Karen (Mary Mitchel) leave suburban Los Angeles on a camping trip in the Sierra Nevada just after sunrise. After driving for two hours, the Baldwins notice unusually bright light flashes coming from a great distance behind them. Sporadic news reports broadcast on CONELRAD hint at the start of an atomic war, later confirmed when the Baldwins see a large mushroom cloud over what was Los Angeles. The family initially attempts to return to rescue Ann's mother back at their home, but they soon abandon the plan as panicked people climb over one another to escape the fallout from multiple nuclear explosions. Witnessing society being torn apart, Harry decides that the family must find refuge at their secluded vacation spot.

    The Baldwins stop to buy supplies at a small town off the main road, which has not yet been inundated by the crowd fleeing Los Angeles. When Harry attempts buy tools and guns from hardware store owner Ed Johnson (Richard Garland), who believes only Los Angeles has been hit, and assumes the government will remain intact, withholds the guns per state law since Harry can only cover them with checks. With Rick's help, Harry absconds with the weapons, but insists to Johnson that he will eventually return to pay for them in full. On the road, the family encounters three threatening young hoodlums, Carl (Richard Bakalyan), Mickey (Rex Holman), and Andy (Neil Nephew), but manage to drive them off.

    I don't want to read the rest.

  • A history of "Afternoon Delight," the "dirtiest song ever to top the Billboard Hot 100"

    Rob Tannenbaum has a thoroughly good time writing about the history of the Starland Vocal Band's 1976 soft rock ballad "Afternoon Delight" in his GQ essay, "Skyrockets In Flight: The Strange Story of the Dirtiest Number One Ever."

    "Afternoon Delight" is cheerful and sprightly. It smells like soap and sounds like a bonfire singalong at Christian summer camp. And it's the pinnacle of AM Gold, which is part of what makes it so deviously wonderful. If AC/DC or Prince had sung the chorus – "Rubbin' sticks and stones together makes the sparks ignite" – you'd have known immediately it was about sex. Under the cover of sunshine, "Afternoon Delight" snuck a pro-screwing song onto the charts. It's like opening a box of Cracker Jack and finding a cock ring.

    Nothing is more American than a song that presents itself with an innocent facade, but at heart is as horny as a ram in springtime.

    Two of the members of Starland Vocal Band, Bill and Taffy Danoff, worked with John Denver as backup singers and songwriters (they co-wrote "Take Me Home, Country Roads"). Here they are on a John Denver BBC special performing a song with a terrific kazoo solo by Taffy:

  • I acquired a brimming bag of nettles, and it shall form the basis of my concoctions

    This massive package of desiccated, possibly sentient leaves from beyond the gulfs of space itself was harvested by priest-kings waiting for the day when the powers that covered their planet in the noxious weed will return. Here in my hands, the very flesh of the Old Ones quivers with anticipation for the day when it will be set free to consume all this pathetic world.

    Even at the rapid rate my spawn drink the green ichor, the gargantuan bag will last at least a year.

    As I partake of what was promised to be a fountain of health and vitality, my skin crawls with delicious dread at the memory of the pungent horror that is surely watching me behind its mycelium prison. Dare I place a value upon just one discolored sliver from a plant that crawls through the mineral soil of an alien dimension, filled with monstrous creatures and predatory gods? And yet, bafflingly, I am in possession of one pound of the terrible plant material.

    The elixir made from boiling nettle leaves has been a very effective treatment for hay fever, which is no doubt a hallucination brought on by an ancient streak of hereditary insanity on both sides of my accursed bloodline.

  • Watch: In 1960 William Shatner plays an egomaniacal millionaire industrialist who finances a lunar expedition and joins the crew

    This week William Shatner (90) was invited by an arrogant billionaire industrialist to ride in his rocket.

    Over sixty years later, life imitates art, with a twist. Night of the Auk was a televised play from 1960 starring William Shatner as an "arrogant millionaire industrialist who has financed the first manned lunar expedition and has come along for the ride."

    Unfortunately, this YouTube video is just a 3-minute clip from the show, but you get to see young Shatner's trademark understated acting at its best.

    When the drama begins, the ship has already reached the moon and is now heading back to Earth. The mission was not a complete success: one member of the six-man expedition died on the moon, and his shipmates left him there. Now, on the way home, the five remaining spacemen make a terrible discovery: the ship has only enough oxygen left for TWO crewmen to reach Earth alive. Now, while the crewmen are arguing over which three of them should sacrifice themselves to save the other two, they also hear transmissions from their Earth base, describing events back home. An all-out nuclear holocaust has already begun, and the entire human race have been doomed by the radioactive fallout.

    If you ask me, the story would be just as good without the "all-out nuclear holocaust part."

    [via r/ObscureMedia]