• QAnon migrates to Gab

    After getting de-platformed on Twitter and Facebook, and with Parler down, QAnoners are flocking to Gab, the social media platform that rose to infamy in 2018. From Vice:

    Gab drew little attention — and few users — until 2018, when it was propelled into the headlines after it was revealed that the man accused of shooting 11 worshippers at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue had been posting vile anti-Semitic rhetoric on Gab for years.

    "I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in," the shooter wrote in his final Gab post before the attack.

    This week's de-platforming of Parler, which saw Apple, Google, and Amazon all withdraw their services in quick succession, would have felt like deja vu for Torba, who went through an almost identical de-platforming in the wake of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, with the likes of PayPal and GoDaddy withdrawing their services.

    Gab went dark for a week, but it came back thanks to Epik, the web hosting company that facilitates neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer, and 8kun, the message board where QAnon originated.

    Meanwhile USA Today reports that "The Anti-Defamation League released an open letter Wednesday morning calling for authorities to investigate Gab and its CEO, Andrew Torba, saying they 'may well bear a measure of criminal responsibility for the attack.'"

    [Image: By Marc Nozell from Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA – QAnon in red shirt, CC BY 2.0]

  • Airbnb is canceling all DC area bookings during inauguration week

    Anyone planning to book an Airbnb during inauguration week is out of luck. Airbnb announced bookings to the area are blocked and existing reservations are canceled:

    Today, in response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., we are announcing that Airbnb will cancel reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the Inauguration week.  Additionally, we will prevent any new reservations in the Washington, D.C. area from being booked during that time by blocking such reservations. 

    Guests whose reservations are canceled will be refunded in full. We also will reimburse hosts, at Airbnb's expense, the money they would have earned from these cancelled reservations. HotelTonight reservations also will be canceled.

    Airbnb's work continues to be informed by inputs from our local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police and Members of Congress throughout this week. In particular, Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration. Additionally, we are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration.  

    We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community. As we've learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we've investigated whether the named individuals have an account on AirbnbThrough this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb's platform. 

  • Congress office panic buttons "torn out" prior to Capitol attack and other disturbing details about Capitol Riot emerge

    It's becoming clear that the assault on the Capitol last week was well-planned. Here are a few of the latest findings:

    As people rushed out of other buildings on the Capitol grounds, staffers in Pressley's office barricaded the entrance with furniture and water jugs that had piled up during the pandemic. Groh pulled out gas masks and looked for the special panic buttons in the office.

    "Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit," she said, though they could come up with no rationale as to why. She had used them before and hadn't switched offices since then.

    [Image: By Tyler Merbler – https://www.flickr.com/photos/37527185@N05/50812356151/, CC BY 2.0]

  • Here's an emotional support animal you can take on a plane (because it's an AI-powered Tribble)

    The creators of this fluffy creature, called Moflin, got $600k funding on Kickstarter. They debuted Moflin at CES this year and you can order one for about $400.

    An AI Pet Robot that's just like a real animal. MOFLIN is an AI Pet created from a totally new concept. It possesses emotional capabilities that evolve like living animals. With its warm soft fur, cute sounds, and adorable movement, you'd want to love it forever. We took a nature inspired approach and developed a unique algorithm that allows MOFLIN to learn and grow by constantly using its interactions to determine patterns and evaluate its surroundings from its sensors. MOFLIN will choose from an infinite number of mobile and sound pattern combinations to respond and express its feelings. To put it in simple terms, it's like you're interacting with a living pet.

  • Man arrested for counterfeiting 25 popsicle sticks to claim prize
    A genuine prize-winning popsicle stick

    A popsicle company in Japan held a promotion that awarded a special rare Pokemon card to lucky people who happened to buy a popsicle with a specially marked stick. A man has been arrested for counterfeiting the winning mark onto ordinary popsicle sticks.

    From Sora News 24:

    Sometime in early November, Akagi Nyugyo received a winning stick in the mail which had been sent from Akita Prefecture. Then it got another, and then another. Before long, the company had received 25 winning sticks, mailed one at a time, all of which they believed were from the same person. A single Pokémon/popsicle fan being that lucky seemed suspicious, so Akagi Nyugyo (which is headquartered in Saitama Prefecture) asked the Saitama Prefectural Police for advice, and in the course of the investigation, they were able to determine that the sticks were fakes. Investigators have now traced the 25 fakes to a 43-year-old office worker living in the town of Kazuno, Akita Prefecture, and have placed him under arrest for attempted fraud.

    I would love to see how these fake marks were created!

  • Man accused of stealing Pelosi's lectern has a lawyer who admits "I'm not a magician"

    Adam Johnson (36), who was photographed holding Nancy Pelosi's lectern during the Capitol Riot on Wednesday, was released on $25k bond yesterday afternoon.

    Johnson is charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; one count of theft of government property; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

    Image: Tampa Bay 10 Youtube video

    Tampa Bay News 10 interviewed Johnson's lawyers on the courthouse steps. After hearing what one of them said about their client, I think Johnson's judgment in picking lawyers is as bad as his judgment on whether or not to be smiling while being photographed carrying the Speaker of the House's lectern during a violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol:

    Lawyer: It could be worse, uh you know, it could be worse, but I think part of what you have to, you know, factor into is again, you just have to drill down on what actually happened. You have a photograph of our client, you know, in a building, um, you know, unauthorized to be there, with, uh, you know, what appears to be a podium or a lectern — not exactly sure which one it's called — but that's what we have.

    Reporter: Obviously, that presents problems for you as a defense attorney in that you have your client in the building at the time of the uh break-in.

    Lawyer: Yeah. Yeah. I don't know the, you know. how to explain that. But yeah, that's, that's, that would be a problem. I'm not a magician and neither is Mr Digny. Yeah, we've got a photograph of our client who appears to be inside the federal building or inside the Capitol with the government property.

  • People are making replacement teeth from moldable plastic

    Thanks to an unaffordable health care system combined with a pandemic that's put many people out of work, some people are practicing DIY dentistry. Here's a woman on TikTok that shows how to make replacement teeth from InstaMorph moldable plastic beads.

    Of course, people who can't afford a dentist are faced with a choice: have missing teeth or use InstaMorph and risk "major gum damage."

  • Video of manatee with TRUMP scratched in its back, federal officials want answers

    The United States Fish and Wildlife Service wants more information about a manatee discovered in Florida with the word "TRUMP" scraped on its back, reports The Citrus County Chronicle.

    Craig Cavanna, senior federal wildlife officer and current investigating officer, said of the situation, "I cannot comment on a current, ongoing investigation."

    He added harassment of a manatee, protected by the Endangered Species Act, is a Class A, federal criminal offense punishable by a $50,000 fine and/or up to one-year in federal prison.

    [Thanks, Bob!]

  • Melania Trump's tone-deaf statement about coup riot is a master-class in narcissistic indignation

    Last week the First Lady's husband urged his cult followers to storm the Capitol so they could kill cops, and try to hog-tie congress members and publicly hang Pence from a gallows. In a statement today, Ms. Trump decried the violence, but said she "would like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives."

    And by the way, she added, the real tragedy was when people said she was furniture shopping while her husband's army of sociopaths was trying to overthrow the government. That was mean.

    With nearly every experience I have had, I found myself carrying many individual's stories home with me in my heart.

    Most recently, my heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbitt, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Roseanne Boyland, and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood. I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time.

    I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week. I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me – from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda. This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain.

    [Image: By Marc Nozell from Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA – 20160208-DSC08088, CC BY 2.0]