• How to steal all the money in an ATM

    In this footage, the secret of successfully stealing all the money in an ATM is revealed by thieves near Derry in Northern Ireland. It makes up for its lack of elegance and subtlety by ensuring, without question, that you leave with all the money in the ATM.

    If you suspect that this extractive methodology might be uneconomical, consider that ATMs typically have a maximum capacity of £250,000 and are frequently stocked with £50-60,000 in the UK.

  • Bowie edition stylophone

    Famously used by David Bowie in his classic hit Space Oddity, the Dübreq Stylophone now bears his name [Amazon]. It's $5 more expensive than a normal stylophone but I'm a complete sucker and I just ordered it.

    Limited-edition David Bowie-inspired synthesizer
    Special white design featuring embossed Bowie logo
    Full colour booklet celebrating David Bowie's work and featuring exclusive contributions and archive photographs

    If Bowie used the larger and more wieldy 350 model in the studio, he didn't use its extra features. Here's the isolated stylophone track from the song itself.

  • Interactive map of native lands

    Native Land is an explorable, interactive map that shows the lands once inhabited by native and indigenous peoples of the Earth, their language groups, and the treaties to which they were parties. You can type in the name of your community to see who lived there; the Shawnee and Osage once ranged over the valleys and hills now occupied by Yinzers.

    This map is not perfect — it is a work in progress with tons of contributions from the community. Please send us fixes if you find errors. If you would like to read more about the ideas behind Native Land or where we are going, check out the blog. You can also see the roadmap.

  • EU moves to make USB-C mandatory

    The European Commission published its proposal to make USB-C chargers mandatory for electronic devices, standardizing the various legacy and proprietary connectors. The biggest impact will be on Apple, still using Lightning connectors on various products, including its just-announced flagship iPhone 13 range. But the proposed law still has to be adoped by the EU and member states and manufacturers will then have two years to complete the transition. [via The Verge]

    In 2020, approximately 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices were sold in the EU. On average, consumers own around three mobile phone chargers, of which they use two on a regular basis. Despite this, 38% of consumers report having experienced problems at least once that they could not charge their mobile phone because available chargers were incompatible. The situation is not only inconvenient but also costly for consumers, who spend approximately €2.4 billion annually on standalone chargers that do not come with electronic devices. In addition, disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to pile up to 11,000 tonnes of e-waste every year.

  • 2000 Americans a day dying of Covid, again

    The ride won't end until the fuel's burned up and Florida and Texas are roaring. 2000 Americans are now dying every day from Covid again. Other states with their death rates at (or close to) their highest since the outset of the pandemic include Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi.

    The seven-day average of U.S. Covid deaths is 2,031 as of Tuesday, the first time over the 2,000 threshold since March, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Reported deaths are currently highest in large U.S. states like Florida, which is seeing an average of 376 daily deaths over the past week, and Texas, which is reporting a daily average of 283. Texas and Florida, combined, account for about one-third of the nationwide average.

    Only 54% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and the unvaccinated account for the overwhelming majority (98.9% in one study) of deaths.

  • The ROT8000 cipher, for when ROT13 just isn't enough letters

    Rot8000 is the unicode equivalent of Rot13, a formal version of the classic Ceasar Cipher in which messages are encrypted by cycling the characters half-way through the given alphabet. By cycling them half-way again, you get back to the original message. Daniel Temkin's implementation works very well.

    While rot13 is the self-inverse for a 26-character system, and rot47 for ANSI, the Basic Multilingual Plane of Unicode requires rot32768 (or 8000 in hex) for a reciprical cypher — meaning that executing it twice restores the original text. It also bypasses 32 control characters, technically making it rotFFE0, sometimes with an additional offset.

    The bonus, beyond the much larger inventory of characters that can be encoded, is that results generally end up using the glyphs of a different language. Depending on context—and the linguistic abilities of presumed observers—it'll be less conspicuous as ciphertext. I wonder if there are downsides hiding in unicode/emoji features like combining characters and punycode that may "break" output or otherwise confound the copy/paste behavior needed for the return trip.

  • Video: Giant inflatable moon escapes moon festival

    This week saw the Moon Festival celebrated in Henan, China, but the moon escaped. Here's video of the giant inflatable satellite rolling away from its pursuers like a healthily-growing katamari.

  • The Open Book Project: open source e-reader you can make yourself from parts

    The Open Book Project is a set of instructions to make an open-source e-book reader, complete with code and manifesto. It's not a hack or alternative software for an existing commercial device, but a ground-up howto that starts with a $15 PCB and requires a soldering iron. [via Hacker News]

    As a society, we need an open source device for reading. Books are among the most important documents of our culture, yet the most popular and widespread devices we have for reading — the Kobo, the Nook, the Kindle and even the iPad — are closed devices, operating as small moving parts in a set of giant closed platforms whose owners' interests are not always aligned with readers'.

  • Great mods for Casio's classic F-91W wristwatch, AKA the Terrorist Watch

    Casio's F-91W is surely the most popular wristwatch of all time, so reliable and ubiquitous that it has never been out of production. At the height of the so-called war on terror, its use in IEDs led to it being described as a "terrorist" signifier by hysterical U.S. investigators. Though it comes in many colors and variants, there are things you can do to make your F 91W special. NODE presents interesting modifications (such as using polyimide tape to colorize the LED display) and has a shop you can buy ready-made examples. The howto videos (here's another that airport security personnel will love) double as a fascinating teardown of a classic gadget.

  • Australia earthquake shakes TV studio

    In this footage, things start to go sideways in the breakfast TV studio of Australia's ABC News.

    An earthquake of magnitude 5.8 struck near Melbourne in Australia. ABC journalists Michael Rowland and Tony Armstrong were in the studio for the breakfast show when the earthquake hit, shaking the TV set. The quake's epicentre was near the rural town of Mansfield, about 200km (124 miles) northeast of Melbourne, and was at a depth of 10 metres

    Inside, the movement was alarming enough. Outside, though, it was more destructive, destroying several buildings and cars.

    Melbourne residents described their shock and surprise as houses across the city began to shake, in a city which has not had an earthquake of a similar size in decades. There have been no reports of injuries so far.The temblor was so strong it was felt as far away as Adelaide in South Australia, 800 kilometers (500 miles) away, and Sydney in New South Wales, more than 900 kilometers (600 miles) away.

  • Book: Elon Musk thinks Peter Thiel is a sociopath and Thiel thinks Musk is a fraud.

    Max Chafkin has a new book coming about Silicon Valley billionare Peter Thiel and his business generation (including others in the "PayPal Mafia" who cashed out big when eBay bought them out). An excerpt in New York Magazine traces his journey from "angry young man" to right-wing ideological godfather, revealing (or remaking) Silicon Valley's supposed neo-liberalism as something more neo-reactionary in character. A fantastic quote: Thiel reportedly thinks that Elon Musk is a poser and a fraud, while Musk considers Thiel a sociopath.

    A person who has talked to each man about the other put it more succinctly: "Musk thinks Peter is a sociopath, and Peter thinks Musk is a fraud and a braggart." … Twenty years later, Thielism is the dominant ethos in Silicon Valley. That's partly because Thiel has been effective at seeding the industry with protégés — none of them more prominent than Mark Zuckerberg.

    Trump's clammy seneschal vs. the taxpayer-lofted rocket boy. Say the line, Bart.

    Another aside in the excerpt (elaboration is promised in the book), is that there was an agreement between Zuckerberg and Trump, brokered by Jared Kushner, to allow right-wing disinformation to roll freely on Facebook in return for Trump not pursuing regulation against Facebook.

    Speculation about this kind of blunt dealmaking was seen as childishly cynical throughout most of Trump's presidency, beyond the approved language of journalistic contempt for Facebook and Zuckerberg. It remained déclassé to suggest it even as it became more obvious, because it challenged our own prior narratives about Silicon Valley's "naive optimism". Even now, few in media want to admit Zuckerberg knew what he was doing or that he was eating us all for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Texas police chase ends in deadly shootout with suspect

    This chopper footage shows the end of a police chase on a Texas highway and a brief but startling shootout between a pursuing officer and the suspect. The officer was shot in the arm, leading to some unusual footage: the pursuit chopper landing nearby to medevac the officer, then speeding from highway to hospital while the camera stays automatically locked to the GPS location of the shootout.

    The suspect, named as Ernest Manuel Montelongo, was shot in the chest and taken to San Antonio Military Medical Center, where he reportedly died.

    According to DPS spokesman Deon Cockrell, the shootout happened after the suspect gave the trooper a false name during a traffic stop, resisted arrest and fled. Cockrell said the trooper pulled the suspect over in Guadalupe County for a traffic violation and attempted to take him into custody for giving a false name and then the suspect fled, leading the trooper on a chase.

    If you're wondering why the officer decided to take on an armed suspect alone after being warned about him over the radio, I imagine he's asking himself the same question.

  • E-bike abandoned on New York Subway tracks blows up after being hit by train

    A Citi bike in New York City was abandoned on train tracks at Steinway Street subway station last night, appearing to explode when a train arrived at the platform and struck it. There's some debate over whether it's a bona fide battery explosion or a spectacular arc from the bike shorting out the electrified rail.

    The video appears to have been removed from its original URL—good luck with that!—so the one I've embedded here is from one of the many accounts reposting it.

  • Man who filmed Rodney King beating dies at 61

    George Holliday, who filmed the savage beating of black motorist Rodney King by a gang of angry white cops from Los Angeles Police Department, is dead at 61.

    On March 3, 1991, Holliday stood on the balcony of his apartment and used his Sony Video8 Handycam to record four white Los Angeles police officers using batons, Tasers and feet to subdue a Black man later identified as King, whose name quickly became globally synonymous with police brutality. King was left with skull fractures, broken bones and teeth and permanent brain damage. The commotion outside his window awoke Holliday, who recorded the beating just after midnight and contacted KTLA5 later that day.

    Why did people ever think that bodycams would lead to more accountability when the most famous video of police brutality led to so little?

  • Documetary about the Antarctic Snow Cruiser

    If you're a fan of Kharkovchanka, the giant snow cruisers made by the Soviet Union, then you'll enjoy this mini-documentary about an American counterpart, the Antarctic Snow Cruiser. It was seventeen meters long, six meters wide, weighed more than 34,000 kg, and had smooth tires—a decision that that doomed it to failure.

    The Antarctic Snow Cruiser would have a special role to play. Its main objective would be to reach the South Pole (only two prior expeditions had ever set foot on the South Pole prior to 1939). During its months-long trek, the Snow Cruiser and it's aircraft would make surveys along its course, and in just a few months the Americans were expecting to explore more of Antarctica than all previous expeditions combined. The ambitious effort would help the Americans establish their own territorial claim on the continent. But in the race to leave for Antarctica by the fall of 1939, the Snow Cruiser would have to be constructed in just 11 weeks, an incredibly short amount of time for such an ambitious, first of its kind machine. Soon, it would become abundantly clear that the Cruiser had been over-designed and under-tested, with extreme optimism seemingly guiding it's design.

    It was abandoned, recovered in the 1960s, then once again lost to the snow and ice and finally to the cold wet void below.

  • Canada heads to the polls

    Liberal Party Prime Minister Justin Trudeau surely regrets calling an early general election in Canada: his party slipped in the polls soon afterward and the expected easy ride got hairy fast. At one point it even looked like Erin O'Toole's Conservatives would win outright, though the latest polls project that the makeup of parliament will remain very much as it was, perhaps with a few more seats for Jagmeet Singh's New Democratic Party. The most likely outcome appears to be Trudeau clinging on with a minority government: exactly the problem he had hoped to escape by calling the vote.

  • Ikea to sell undermounted chargers that turn desks and shelves into wireless Qi points

    The Sjömärke [Ikea] wireless charger turns your desk or shelf into a Qi wireless charging spot, so long as it's less than 22mm thick.

    Do a magic trick and charge your phone directly on the tabletop or shelf. The secret is this wireless charger mounted hidden on the furniture – easy charging with technology that blends into your decor!

    The Verge:

    It's compatible with the latest Qi 1.2.4 baseline power profile, so you can expect it to perform within the range of standard 5W charging — no Samsung, Google, or Apple-specific improvements here. Still, it's impressive enough if you'd like to charge a phone by simply putting it on the desk where it already sits and not have to move anything else around. An Ikea spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that the Sjömärke will be available in-stores and online in the US and other countries in October.

  • New beer too strong for some U.S. states

    A limited-run beer from Samuel Adams is too strong for some U.S. states: its 28% ABV is illegal in 15 of them.

    The brewer releases a new version of its Utopias brand every two years, and the twelfth edition will be on shelves starting Oct. 11. But don't bother looking for it in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont or West Virginia. Utopias are illegal in those states because they contain 28% alcohol by volume, more than five times the potency of typical US brews.

    It's funny this is a cool hip thing these days. When I tended bar, back in the 90s, it was only the most leathery retirees, waiting to be let in at 11 a.m., who hit the high-ABV beers. I remember the impossibly cheap branding, the bottles half-wrapped in gold foil like christmas chocolate. A vile soup of hops and barley to lash some sensation into their ancient tastebuds. I made up a little whicker basket of them once all nicely arranged with rosettes, framed photos of random things from the early 20th century, and a little fake ad slogan in a calligraphic font saying "Gold Label: What We Need Is Another War On" It emptied out pretty quick but the landlord didn't think much of the humor.

  • Police chief paid woman $50 so he could rape her 17-year-old relative, feds say. She's convicted and he's going on trial.

    Kristen Naylor-Legg was paid $50 to bring a 17-year-old relative to Larry Allen Clay Jr, then the police chief of Gauley Bridge, so that he could rape her, say prosecutors in West Virginia. She pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to sex traffic a minor and will be sentenced in December. His trial begins in November.

    Clay allegedly arrived in a gray police vehicle wearing his uniform, the affidavit says. He allegedly forced the girl to perform oral sex on him before raping her on the police vehicle, according to the affidavit. He then allegedly paid Naylor-Legg, who was present during the entire encounter, and left. Later that month, the three went to a police substation inside a city-owned community center, authorities said. As Clay allegedly raped the teen, Naylor-Legg told the girl to "let him" finish, court documents state, adding that "it would not be a problem because he was 'fixed.'" When it was over, Naylor-Legg gave her towels to clean herself, the affidavit says, and Clay allegedly failed to pay before leaving.

    The AP reports on the plea. The whole story is an unfolding flower of awful details, not least the implication there are other victims and police-department perpetrators in this 614-population town in the middle of nowhere.

    The former police chief allegedly told the teen "he could be her sugar daddy," Herrald said, and that he could arrange for other law enforcement officers to pay $100 to rape her. One officer who had been charged with two counts of sexual assault in a nearby county told authorities Clay had reached out to him to see if he was interested in such an arrangement, the prosecutor alleged.