Trump always gets a laugh from his very fine deplorables when he calls Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” A recent DNA test revealed that Warren has Native American ancestry. "The analysis of Warren’s DNA was reportedly done by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor, and shows that she had a Native American in her family tree dating back six to 10 generations," reports the Daily Beast.
While it won't make a speck of difference to Trump and his tribe, everyone else on the planet will see these people for who they are - unapologetic racists.
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Avogadro's Number is 6.022140857 × 1023. That's how many atoms are in 12 grams of carbon-12. One mole of anything has one Avogadro's Number of elementary particles in it. In this video, the Action Lab Man repeats the words "Avogadro's Number," quadrupling the audio track each time until he reaches 6.022140857 × 1023. Each time he utters the words, he includes an interesting fact about the in-progress number. For example 256 is the "Unplayable/unbeatable level in Pac-Man due to an 8-bit integer overflow." And 68,719,476,736 is the "Number of animals eaten by humans each year."
He ends the video by describing what would happen if you gathered together a mole of moles, as found in Randall Munroe's great book, What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. Read the rest
There is a kind of caterpillar in England's Lake District that has evolved to feed exclusively on the seed pods of a plant called the touch-me-not. Unfortunately for the caterpillar, the seed pods explode, without warning, to disperse their seeds. In this BBC video narrated by Bernard Cribbins you'll see a number of caterpillars having their feast interrupted when it explodes in their face. [Video]
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I recently discovered Christopher Barnatt's YouTube channel, ExplainingComputers, and I highly recommend it. Barnatt is the author of 13 books about computers and has taught for 25 years at the University of Nottingham. He explains digital technology very clearly, and many of his videos contain tests and demonstrations. In his latest video, he presents the evolution of computer motherboards since 1990, starting with the Intel 386 that ran at 20Mhz (no fan or heat sink needed!). It's amazing to see how things have changed in a few decades. Read the rest
"Investors are bailing" from Facebook, writes CNN Money. The share price for the disgraced social media firm has dropped 30% since July. Facebook has had a hard time shaking its image as a firm that happily violates users' privacy, manipulates users emotional well-being, doesn't take proper steps to secure users' data, courts advertisers interested in targeting white supremacists, and sells users' behavioral information to unscrupulous entities.
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Despite hours of testimony, a blitz of executive interviews and numerous tweaks to its privacy settings, Facebook has yet to put the Cambridge Analytica issue behind it. And now, Facebook faces the prospect of additional regulatory scrutiny after disclosing a new security breach affecting nearly 50 million users.
The longer the privacy backlash continues, not to mention ongoing concerns about election meddling, the more potential for damage to Facebook's core business.
"For the first time, we've heard some grumblings from the advertiser community that the hot water that Facebook is in politically is creating some hesitation on budget allocations (for some)," Ross Sandler, an analyst with Barclays, wrote in an investor note this week.
A Russian hacker who calls himself "Alexey" is infiltrating insecure networks and adding security patches to Latvian-made MikroTik routers so they "can't be abused by cryptojackers, botnet herders, or other cyber-criminals," reports ZDNet. Alexey claims to have secured over 100,000 MikroTik routers so far. A security expert told ZDNet that over 420,000 MikroTik routers have been hijacked to mine cryptocurrency on the sly.
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Alexey has not been trying to hide his actions and has boasted about his hobby on a Russian blogging platform. He says he accesses routers and makes changes to their settings to prevent further abuse.
"I added firewall rules that blocked access to the router from outside the local network," Alexey said. "In the comments, I wrote information about the vulnerability and left the address of the @router_os Telegram channel, where it was possible for them to ask questions."
But despite adjusting firewall settings for over 100,000 users, Alexey says that only 50 users reached out via Telegram. A few said "thanks," but most were outraged.
The vigilante server administrator says he's been only fixing routers that have not been patched by their owners against a MikroTik vulnerability that came to light in late April.
Kara Swisher is one of the best journalists working today, so it was fascinating to read about her experiences working for well-known editors as she rose through the ranks.
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My next boss after [Jack] Shafer was John McLaughlin, of the TV show The McLaughlin Group. I ghostwrote his column in the National Review -- he would add in the right-wing invective -- and then I worked on his show. That asshole of a human being. I got the sense he sort of respected me because I didn’t put up with his shit. Because I wasn’t a Republican. I was a liberal, obviously. All these people were weird acolytes to him because he was a big deal during the Reagan administration. That was his power. So he used that. These people would do everything to work for one of the top Republican people, and I was like, I don’t give a fuck. My whole history is not going to depend on this. He enjoyed a smart woman in a weird, sick way.
He was awful and abusive and terrible -- and as it turned out, he was like Sexual Harasser 101. He was harassing a woman on the staff who was a friend of mine. But he was abusive to the whole staff. He would line people up by height and then make them look for a dust ball under his couch. Stuff like that. This was Captain Queeg kind of behavior. He was just super crazy. Everyone had a beeper -- he had to know where you were.
When we spent 5 weeks in Japan this summer, we bought a lot of prepared meals from convenience stores. They were really good. In this video, we see how a family who moved from Canada to Japan makes great dinner spreads using frozen meals. Read the rest
I've been doing a lot of Raspberry Pi retrogaming lately, and have tried a lot of different gamepad controllers. The best controllers, in my estimation, are the ones made by 8BitDo. They've introduced a new model, the SN30 ($30), and it comes in colors matching the old Game Boy Pockets. They pair with Raspberry Pi, Switch, OS X, iOS, Android, and Windows. You can also connect them to a device using the included USB cable.
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Billy McFarland, the 26 year old con-artist who organized a disastrous Bahamas music festival in 2017 was sentenced to six years in federal prison on multiple counts of fraud. Ticket buyers who paid $12,000 had been promised a "first class" experience on a private island with yacht rides, gourmet meals, supermodels, and luxury villas but instead received school bus shuttles, cheese slices on bread, feral dogs, disaster relief tents and no musical performances.
From the New York Times:
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Prosecutors said that the music festival, which was to have taken place in 2017, was the product of an elaborate scheme. The festival’s website identified its location as Fyre Cay, a fictional place that was described as a private island that had once belonged to the drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Actually, Mr. McFarland secured some land on Great Exuma just weeks before the festival and hired workers who scrambled to prepare for the event. But as ticket holders arrived, Mr. McFarland’s plans unraveled and the festival was canceled. His celebrity business partner in Fyre Media, the rapper Ja Rule, posted on social media that he was “heartbroken” about the chaos.
From late 2017 until early 2018, Mr. McFarland ran a company called NYC VIP Access that sold bogus tickets to events like the Met Gala, Coachella, Burning Man and the Super Bowl. In one case, prosecutors said, two customers flew from Florida to New York for the Grammy Awards, only to be turned away at the door.
In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors called Mr.
Reginald Andrade is the consumer manager of disability services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. On September 14 he was walking across campus to work. This scared a bystander who called the police. Andrade says the police were waiting for him by the time he arrived at work.
From the ACLU:
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But on September 14, campus police were waiting for me when I arrived at the reception desk at Whitmore. I had no idea why, but I knew it couldn’t be good. My heart started pounding.
Two university detectives sat me down me in an office and closed the door. Bewildered, I asked what was happening. They refused to answer as they peppered me with questions.
“What time did you wake up?” “What were you doing at the campus recreation center?” “Did you come into the building agitated?” I felt confused, powerless, and scared, but I made sure to maintain my composure. I remembered that even unarmed Black people disproportionately get killed during police encounters, and it was incumbent on me as an innocent Black man to show that I wasn’t a threat.
It wasn’t until the end of their interrogation that they revealed why I was being questioned. Someone had called the university’s anonymous tip line, reporting that they had seen an “agitated Black male” who was carrying “a heavy backpack that is almost hitting the ground” as he approached the Whitmore Administration Building. I — the “agitated Black male” — apparently posed such a threat that police put the entire building on lockdown for half an hour.
Most jar openers work by giving you more grip or more leverage to unscrew the lid. But the reason lids are hard to twist off is because the jars are vacuum packed. This handy gadget allows you to lift the lid enough to break the vacuum, and then it is very easy to unscrew the lid. Once you use one of these, you will want to open jars this way from now on. I use a Jar Pop on every new jar, even before trying to open it without one, because I don’t want to screw my wrist up. Read the rest
From Too Good to Be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends, by Jan Harold Brunvand
A final exam had just one question: "Write the best possible final exam question for this course, then answer it."
One student immediately wrote, "The best possible final exam question for this course is 'Write the best possible final exam question for this course, then answer it.'"
The student also could have simply written "the best possible final exam question for this course, then answer it."
[via Futility Closet]
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Keep your eyes on the green SUV in front of the small red car. Read the rest
The Pyua is designer Love Hultén's homage to the NES gaming console of 1985. Cartridges are illuminated under a transparent glass dome. It uses an NT mini to run the games and the wireless controllers are from 8Bitdo.
Hultén's other designs are equally delicious:
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Frontier Airlines thought the idea of an emotional support squirrel was nutty, so they asked the woman who'd brought a bright eyed and bushy tailed companion on board a flight bound for Cleveland to vacate. Read the rest
Is wireless power possible, and did Nikolai Tesla make a tower that could transmit a useful amount of electrical power wirelessly? In this video, the Action Lab Man conducts demonstrations with a Tesla Coil to answer these questions.
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