• Federal court frees man arrested for publicizing Jury Nullification outside court

    Jury Nullification is when jurors refuse to apply the law, typically by acquitting a defendant they know is guilty. The reasons are many, countering just and unjust laws alike, but you can't have a credible jury without giving it this power, so nullification is an inherent feature of the system. It's held to have checked capital punishment in England as juries there refused to convict people who might end up executed for minor crimes. Officers of the law and the courts tend to hate nullification, though, because it undermines various elegant fantasies about the law that they identify with. And in 2017, one man was charged with a crime for telling people about it. A federal court now says he was wrongly arrested, writes Reason's Billy Binion:

    A man was wrongfully arrested for standing outside a Bronx courthouse handing out flyers about jury nullification, the practice where juries render "not guilty" verdicts despite overwhelming evidence of guilt, a federal court confirmed last week. Michael Picard, a civil libertarian activist, was taken into custody in late 2017 after police took issue with him passing out papers telling recipients to "Google Jury Nullification," as law enforcement alleged he was in violation of a New York law barring people from standing within 200 feet of a courthouse "calling for or demanding any specified action or determination by such court or jury" in connection with an ongoing case.

  • Bachelorette parties "destroying LGBTQ+ safe spaces" in Provincetown

    Bridal celebrations are muscling in on the spaces created by queer and marginalized folks, effectively forcing them out and appropriating the safety therein. Researchers studying venues in Provincetown, Massachussets, report a process similar to gentrification—"hetrification"—where loaded white women trying to escape the straight world only succeed in bringing it back to the places from which it was evicted.

    Even though the bachelorette party-goers only temporarily "invade" the spaces that were not created for them, the researchers said through the "incessant" visits, "hetrification weaponizes heteronormativity and breaks down queer spaces." The researchers said none of the bridal parties interviewed in P-town knew they were "hetrifiers." … "The women are displaced by rape culture and seek refuge in queer spaces, but the queers are faced with tolerating the heterosexual gaze or not showing up at all," the professors wrote. "We know the end of this story because we know how gentrification works. Follow the money."

    The funny thing is that it's written up in such pretentious, prolix academic language that you'd think the anti-woke brigade would be all over it, but even they are quietly nodding in agreement today because everyone knows how horrible bachelorette parties are.

  • 28 years on, a secret versus mode is discovered in Nintendo's Super Punch-Out

    Super Punch-Out is a very old-school boxing game released for the Super NES in 1994. Coming late in the system's life cycle, it was overshadowed by its Mike Tyson-branded predecessor and by a new generation of fighting games such as Street Fighter II. Now, 28 years on, a hidden two-player versus mode has been discovered. Unlisted Cheats:

    The trick works on the Switch version, too:

  • Dehumidifiers demystified

    The Dehumidifer Buyers' Guide helped me select a new dehumidifer after the old one rattled its last, and it struck me as a good old-fashioned gadget site by someone interested in a particularly mundane thing such as the rest of us might contemplate once per decade. In an earlier age this might have been a magazine called Which Dehumifidier or Mens Dehumidifer. Compressor based dehumidifiers, thermoelectric dehumidifiers, desiccant dehumidifiers: know the difference! Then just get the one from Frigidaire [Amazon] that everyone recommends anyway.

  • As Lake Mead recedes, another body emerges

    It's been weeks since receding Lake Mead offered up another suspiciously placed body. The one found Saturday was, at least, not found in a barrel with conspicuous gunshot wounds.

    While the grim discoveries in the shrinking lake quickly generated theories of mob involvement, Johansson said those ideas are "mere speculation" at this point in the investigation. A National Park Service spokesperson told CNN one possible explanation for the remains could be that they belong to people who previously drowned at the lake when water levels used to be high.

  • Only 60 days jail for teacher who "continuously abused" 13-year-old student

    After systematically abusing her victim for three years, 32-year-old Marka Bodine pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 14. Prosecutors asked for a 20-year sentence. Judge Greg Glass sentenced her to 60 days, and she won't have to serve her time for a year.

    The student reported Bodine to authorities, prompting the teacher to confront him about the images on his phone and delete them. "She told me I wouldn't go to college, that I would go to jail," the teen testified. "She said she would kill herself, go to jail." He said he contemplated suicide and on one occasion, he poured a bottle's worth of Tylenol pills into his mouth but did not swallow. He spent a week in West Oaks Hospital, a mental health clinic. 

    I wonder what it is about this beautiful white woman that led Judge Greg to leniency?

  • Mike Lindell says "54 countries have now been taken by the machines"

    Speaking at CPAC, the annual main event for American conservatives, pillow mogul Mike Lindell said that "54 countries have now been taken by the machines" and that "Venezuela and Australia are gone!" [via Raw Story] Everyone thinks he's talking about right-wing election machine conspiracy theories—like the world isn't being taken over by Skynet as we speak.

    This is very important you hear me on this," Lindell told the CPAC crowd during his address. "Over 54 countries have now been taken by the machines or are getting taken by the machines! And you never get to go back!"

    Lindell then listed off some of the countries that had purportedly been overtaken by the malevolent voting machines.

    "Venezuela, Australia, they're gone!" he exclaimed. "You don't get to vote out the machines once they're there!"

  • GeoCities' founder explains the death of the old Internet

    Jody Serrano interviews David Bohnett, the founder of GeoCities (previously, previously).

    "It really was a forerunner of the social networks to come, as you learn. One of the things that has surprised me is how far away we've gotten from [that time]. The heart of GeoCities was sharing your knowledge and passions about subjects with other people. It really wasn't about what you had to eat and where you've traveled. There was a travel section, but it was really more about tapping into your personal passion and giving you a format to join a like-minded community and share that with other people. It wasn't anything about your face."

  • 17-inch laptop the size of a 12.5-inch laptop after folding in half

    Asus's Zenbook 17 Fold is a foldable 17" Zenbook from Asus. The detachable OLED touchscreen is only 12.5" across when thusly halved, making the device no larger than a Chromebook when carried (though the three-ply folded device is, of course, rather thick).

    Zenbook 17 Fold OLED leads the world with its amazing 17.3" Foldable OLED (FOLED) touchscreen1 that folds down instantly to a compact 12.5" size, making it smaller than a sheet of photocopier paper for easy carrying. The color-accurate 2.5K slim-bezel NanoEdge Dolby Vision screen is also PANTONE® Validated with TÜV Rheinland-certified low blue-light levels. Its ingenious multiple user modes are limited only by your imagination, and the detachable ASUS ErgoSense Bluetooth® keyboard and touchpad turns it into a powerful fully-featured laptop with a 12th Gen Intel® Core processor and a stunning Harman Kardon-certified quad-speaker Dolby Atmos® audio system. The innovative camera system includes a 5 MP AI webcam, a HD IR camera for fast face login, and a color sensor for automatic brightness and color temperature control.

    With the screen off and unfolded, it's 2560×1920. With half of it tucked under the keyboard in "laptop mode", it's 1920×1280. The 4:3 and 3:2 aspect ratios have me more excited than anything! It comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, Intel Iris Xe graphics, "all day" battery life, 12th-gen Intel CPUs and a 5MP webcam.

  • Alex Jones must pay at least $4.1m to Sandy Hook parents for defamation, with punitive damages still to be decided

    Alex Jones, who falsely claimed that parents of children shot dead at Sandy Hook elementary school hoaxed the massacre, must pay $4.1m in damages for defaming them. The Texas jury is yet to determine punitive damanges, reports NBC News.

    Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose son Jesse died alongside 19 of his classmates and six educators at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, had sought $150 million for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose son Jesse died alongside 19 of his classmates and six educators at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, had sought $150 million for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

    The trial became an unexpected courtroom spectacular after it emerged that Jones' own legal team had mistakenly sent years of his private texts and emails to opposing counsel, revealing that Jones had lied at his deposition.

  • Alex Jones' phone contains 'intimate messages with Roger Stone,' says Sandy Hook lawyer

    Attorney Mark Bankston, representing Sand Hook parents that Alex Jones' falsely accused of hoaxing the gun massacre that killed their children, told a Texas judge today that Alex Jones' phone contains "intimate messages with Roger Stone." The two men are often spotted together in their work as Trumpite provocateurs.

    It's likely just a figure of speech indicating a degree of collusion and familiarity between the two men, but the wording, like Adam Ellis' "Sonic tops Pikachu at the box office" headline comic, has inescapable consequences for the mind.

  • Boston cop chasing white suspect arrested the first black man he saw

    A white cop chasing a white suspect ran up to a black man, pulled his gun on him, threw him face-first to the ground, then held him down under his knee.

    Johnson saw the [suspect] jog past him before [officer Steven] Conroy approached and yelled at both men to "get the (expletive) on the floor." The white suspect got on his knees, but Johnson stayed standing, the lawsuit says. After that, Johnson says Conroy drew his gun, threw him to the ground and pinned him down with a knee on his neck. Another officer who arrived in a cruiser recognized the white man and put him in handcuffs, and the suspect told the officer he didn't know Johnson, according to the lawsuit. A third officer who arrived "immediately jumped on" Johnson to help Conroy hold him down, according to the complaint.

    The pièce de résistance would have been if the suspected thief took advantage of the cops' blinding racism to make his escape, but they apparently stuck around.

  • Jan 6 committee to subpoena Alex Jones' emails and texts after spectacular leak

    Years of Alex Jones's texts and emails were mistakenly leaked by his lawyers, demonstrating that he lied at deposition and hid evidence from the court. But that trial only concerns how much has to pay the Sandy Hook parents he falsely accused of hoaxing the massacre. Now the Jan. 6 committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol is to subpoena the data, raising the prospect of more serious trouble for Jones and his political cronies.

    On Wednesday, Sandy Hook victims' attorney Mark Bankston told Jones that his attorney had mistakenly sent Bankston three years worth of the conspiracy theorist's emails and text messages copied from his phone. Now — a source familiar with the matter and another person briefed on it tell Rolling Stone — the January 6th committee is preparing to request that data from the plaintiff attorneys in order to aid its investigation of the insurrection. These internal deliberations among the committee, which is probing former President Donald Trump's role in causing the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, began within minutes of the lawyer's revelation being heard on the trial's livestream on Wednesday afternoon.

  • Conservative Kansas votes overwhelmingly to preserve abortion rights

    Kansas voted "No" on changing its state constitution to allow an abortion ban.

    It was the first electoral test of the issue since the US Supreme Court allowed states to ban the procedure. If the ballot had gone the other way, lawmakers could have moved to further restrict or ban abortion in Kansas. The ballot question in Kansas had been hotly anticipated since the US Supreme Court two months ago overturned Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalised abortion nationwide.

    This was polled this with a slim margin for "Yes" on removing abortion rights, a study cited in an NBC News segment that described it as a "bellwether" for abortion. This was a ridiculous and cynical bit of reporting because Kansas is not a bellwether for anything: it's a deep-red state that hasn't sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate1 since the 1930s. Some of us in media just love the idea of an abortion ban flowing from an extremely close vote, as this harmonizes with the shopworn story of an optimally-divided, anxious and fucked-up country trending by a hair into chaos and suffering.

    On the day, though, abortion rights won by about 60%—in a state that Trump won by 20 points. Good luck with your "How the Kansas vote shows us that Americans are closely divided on abortion" columns, arseholes!

    1. Correction: Senate, not Congress.

  • Texas Department of Public Safety trooper was on-scene at Uvalde massacre after 2 minutes and 28 seconds, not 9 minutes as previously disclosed

    The police departments who responded to the Uvalde schoolshooting are still getting caught in lies, weeks later, as evidence is analyzed and uncovered. A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper previously said to have arrived outside the classroom at Robb Elementary School 9 minutes after the gunman entered was in fact at the school after only 2 minutes and 28 seconds, reports CNN.

    The more specific timeline raises further questions about DPS's own transparency and role in the botched police response, even as the department leads the investigation into what happened. The body camera video was provided to CNN by Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, who has expressed his frustration with the department's investigation and accused DPS of a "cover-up." The head of the largest police union in Texas said the new timeline raised serious questions about the department's trustworthiness.

    Uvalde Cop Bingo never ends.

  • Beyoncé to revise lyric used as ableist slur in UK

    Following the example of Lizzo several weeks ago, Beyoncé Knowles is to replace the word "spaz" from her album Renaissance. The word is a commonplace slur in the UK, reflecting the recent and widespread offical use of the term "spastic" to refer to people with cerebral palsy and other movement disorders.

    The disabled community called out the pop star's song "Heated," which includes the lyrics, "spazzing on that ass, spaz on that ass." According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, in the U.S., spaz is popular slang meaning "go crazy," which is its intent within the lyrics of "Heated." But the word, while generally used to mean the latter domestically, is an ableist insult in the U.K. and other countries (including to some people in the U.S.) since it refers to the medical condition spastic paralysis. In a statement sent to Insider, a rep for Beyoncé confirmed that the lyric will be changed. "The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced," the statement said.

    There is a long history of British press demanding that Americans stop using the word, but the internet dissolves all barriers and now the UK stories about it travel worldwide.

    Black Americans removing an inadvertantly offensive homonym from their art, to appease mostly white British people upset by it, seems like something that might have unintended consequences—not least for the similar collisions ("smoke some fags and play some pool") present in UK work. You just have to ask yourself who is vulnerable to outrage.

  • Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune praised

    The original theme tune from Thomas and Friends is a frequent subject of sampling, remixing and mashups. The comic posing of its jaunty Englishness against, say, Biggie Smalls belies the underlying tune's mix of complex melodies, ragtime, carnie music, and a simple, pounding beat. It is also, as Charles Cornell (previously at BB) points out, unironically really good.

    I have an unpublished short story with a scene where the protagonist starts monologuing about this theme the way Patrick Bateman launches insanely into magazine-style reviews of Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, etc. Cornell elaborates on the strange dissonances and unexpected key changes in it: as well as being quite the little banger, it is a subtly weird piece of music. "We ended in a different place to where we started and we don't even notice the transition happening."

    Why it works so well as rapper mashup material isn't addressed. The general consensus seems to be that it's just the simple rythym + humor + meme-luck. But it interesting to read how just far back inspiration and appropriation flowed from the music of black Americans to that of the white Britons whose world Thomas evokes. This theme doesn't wander far from the shared elements, then slaps a big fat beat on top.

    Also, I wonder if it was mastered with "space for vocals" that were never actually written or put in, which means that cutting and pasting random vocal tracks into it "just works" without making the results muddy or hard to follow.

  • RIP Google's built-in countdown stopwatch/timer

    It used to be that you could tell Google Search to make a countdown timer and it would, just as it will solve math sums, convert units or plot graphs. Alas, it is no more.

    Google is yet to formally acknowledge the removal of the feature, so it may be the case that an accidental bug has caused it to disappear. Google's public search liaison Danny Sullivan first said he'd look into the issue on July 21st. Almost a week later, on July 27th, the team was "still checking on it." If its disappearance is a bug, then it's one that may be proving hard to squash. A spokesperson from Google did not immediately return The Verge's request for comment.

    Perhaps too trivial for the Killed By Google graveyard, even assuming its death was intentional.

  • Conservatives push fake photoshopped headlines, knowing that few will check

    The Atlantic published a story praising the "Quiet Courage of Joe Biden's Negative Growth Economy." We know because conservatives such as Dinesh D'Souza screencapped it and insisted that it was real, not satire or parody. But it is the latter, of course—the latest of many.

    "This image is fabricated, and is not an actual Atlantic article," Anna Bross, senior vice president of communications for The Atlantic, told The Associated Press on Friday in an email. "We are reporting this as fake and as a trademark infringement."

    The usual commentary is to say "they didn't even check to see if it was satire!" and to elaborate on how they don't care if it's true or not before posting—and maybe to chuckle at the "irony" of them insisting it's true. But the "post-truth bullshit era" is a red herring for the "fuck-truth lies era" that we're actually in, which is why they insist that satire is real. All that matters is that the libs are owned and the hate is bubbling over. We assume stupidity not because Hanlon was right but because dealing with malice is hard.

  • Star Trek star Nichelle Nichols dead at 89

    Nichelle Nichols, whose performance as Star Trek's Nyota Uhura broke barriers in our world as in Starfleet's, is dead at 89. Her son, Kyle Johnson:

    Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration," Johnson said in a statement shared to Nichols' official site on Sunday. "Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all."

    Nichols as Lt. Uhura in a screengrab from the original series of Star Trek.