• Supreme Court rules 8-1 that school violated cussin' cheerleader's first amendment rights

    A school district which fired a cheeleader for cussing out of school violated her first amendment right to free speech. The Supreme Court issued its ruling today in an 8-1 decision, with weirdo justice Clarence Thomas dissenting.

    B. L. posted two images on Snapchat, a social media ap-plication for smartphones that allows users to share temporary images with selected friends. B. L.'s posts expressed frustration with the school and the school's cheerleading squad, and one contained vulgar language and gestures. When school officials learned of the posts, theysuspended B. L. from the junior varsity cheerleading squad for the up-coming year. … While public schools may have a special interest in regulatingsome off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the school are not sufficient to overcome B. L.'s interest in free expression

    She won her case two years ago, but the Mahanoy School District wanted a kicking from the top. It's not a clear win: Tinker's limits on off-campus speech that "significantly disrupts" school activities still stands. But the standard of "significant disruption" is now higher than, well, this:

    "fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything," to quote the magnificent B.L., but most of all fuck the Mahanoy Area High School for trying to silence its students off-campus.

  • Texas governor Greg Abbott vetoes dog abuse law despite both parties supporting it

    Governor Greg Abbott has vetoed a law that hardened Texas laws against dog abuse, a move that suprised lawmakers from both parties who had passed the bill overwhelmingly in both the state Senate and House. Abbott said that the law, which bans using heavy outdoor chains and other restraints that frequently injure dogs, was unnecessary and the fines excessive.

    "I have to hand it to the governor. 'Anti-voting rights, pro-animal cruelty' is a bold re-election message," tweeted Julián Castro, a former Democratic presidential candidate, who included animal rights in his policy platform, and former mayor of San Antonio.

  • Iowa judge blocks law requiring 24-hour wait before abortion

    A 2020 state law requiring women to wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion is unconstututional, an Iowa judge ruled Tuesday.

    In his order, Turner also canceled a planned trial in the case, which was set for January. At a press conference Tuesday, Planned Parenthood North Central States Director of Public Affairs Jamie Burch Elliott said the law was "medically unnecessary and harmful" and would have effectively put abortion access out of reach for many people.

    "Once again, the court righted a legislative overreach related to abortion care, and the court's decision means access to safe and legal abortion in Iowa remains unchanged," Elliott said.

  • Quake is 25 years old

    It's 25 years to the day that iD software released Quake, the classic first-person shooter featuring a fully 3D world (including characters!), mouselook (not enabled by default!), and an outstanding soundtrack by Trent Reznor.

    Until Quake, state-of-the-art first-person shooter games on PC generally used 2.5D graphics techniques to simulate height and depth while usually restricting player movement to a two-dimensional plane. Quake broke the mold by introducing a fully 3D polygonal universe populated with 3D objects and monsters, giving players six degrees of freedom in an immersive virtual world. Unlike 1993's Doom, you could look around freely (and even jump) in Quake.

    "It was an obvious progression from Wolfenstein's three degrees of freedom to Doom's four degrees of freedom, to Quake's six degrees of freedom," Quake programmer John Carmack told How-To Geek. "Some Doom clones experimented with a shearing look up/down for five degrees of freedom, but if you are going to support arbitrarily oriented polygons, you might as well get all six."

    A remastered edition is in the works, reports Notebook Check.

    I remember the Quake billboards all over London in '96, convincing me that yes, it was time to buy a Windows PC. I can't find a single photo of those looming nightmare announcements online, which is strangely unsettling, but I did find this amusing magazine ad from Germany at about the same time.

  • Carl Nassib the first out player in NFL

    The Raiders' Carl Nassib announced Wedenesday that he is gay. Nassib is the first active NFL player out the closet, with the support of his team.

    "I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," Nassib said. "I've been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest. I really have the best life, the best family, friends and job a guy can ask for.

  • They're making a movie called "Karen" and it's exactly what you're thinking

    Here's the trailer a movie about a white suburban woman, literally named Karen, who hassles her new black neighbors with microaggressions, then officious nastiness, and ultimately outright racist menace (delivered with the help of her evil cop brother.) Perhaps there's a brilliant twist to all of it? Everyone behaves like they're in a 1990s TV movie, but talks like they're in a Jordan Peele one. Yet even from the trailer it seems to have no idea how Get Out's surface materials relate to its deeper impact, or the nuance with which it was accomplished.

    For example, here's a soap dispenser with a Confederate flag on it.

  • Prime Day picks for artists and makers and people who fool around with tools

    There's not a lot going on at Amazon Prime Day unless you're after last-gen gadgets or dog DNA kits, but I found some a few good money-saving picks for artists, photographers and other folks who like making stuff.

    Huion graphic tablets and displays (such as the Kamvas Pro 24" and its smaller sibling) are going for a song. They're among the best-known and most widely-reviewed alternatives to Wacom gear (which is not discounted today) and vastly less expensive even at normal prices.

    Here's some cheap artist's gloves going even-cheaper.

    This 6-pack of Copic skintone brush markers is 20% off — sadly the only Copics going cheap for Prime Day, but worth grabbing all the same. (The 36-piece Copic Classic set is on an unrelated 9% off deal, though they're not brush markers.)

    I have a tin of these Faber-Castell Goldfaber Wood Cased Color Pencils and recommend them. At 41% off today, the 48-pack (be sure not to change the count!) is an outstanding deal. Less expensive (e.g. for kids) is a tin of 48 Faber-Castell Colored Pencils, with an even steeper discount.

    Camera folks will be disappointed by Prime Day, but there's 30% off the Rokinon 12mm F2.0 manual prime for Sony, MFT and Fujifilm mounts, and on lots of glass from sister brand Samyang. Fujifilm's Instax Mini film is half off, too. Pelican cases, designed for gadgets but good for storing all sorts of delicate gear besides, are all 20% off today.

    Audio gear and music instruments don't seem to be a Prime Day thing, sadly. Blue Yeti mics have a $10 rebate if you snag a gift card with one.

    The power-tools situation is a little better, with Black and Decker stuff (it's fine, whatever) discounted. This four-part 20V set with drill/driver, circular saw, lamp and reciprocating saw, at 50% off, is the best pick. DeWalt's Prime Day stuff is higher-quality but the offerings are a bit random—this half-inch DeWalt corded drill is a solid deal but this non-Prime Day deal on a refurbed Bosch Bulldog is a much better one.

    Attention sewers! The Singer Heavy Duty is $25 off for prime day. I own one of these and, I have to admit, I don't like it all that much: it's clunkier than an everyday model but not really all that heavy duty, and has trouble with heavy/layered denim amd leather. But it is a very well-reviewed and respected model and a deal is a deal.

    I picked up two books this morning on "lightning" deals: The Great Book of Woodworking Projects and Coding Games in Scratch.

    A good generic-gadget pick today is the SanDisk Extrem Pro external SSD, nearly half off at the time of writing. God knows if these label makers are any good, but this 30% off thermal printer is most tempting.

    Last, but not least, here's a great deal on Corel Painter 2021, normally $429 but $229 for Prime Day. It's still my favorite natural-media painting app, though I'll admit I'm yet to get familiar with Clip Studio.

  • New York Times outs Tucker Carlson as regular anonymous source for media he "hates"

    Right-wing Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson poses as an independent who stands up to the mainstream media, and is happy to turn journalists into objects of derision and contempt for his audience. But today the New York Times' Ben Smith outed Carlson as a regular anonymous source for the very media he claims to hate.

    Mr. Carlson, a proud traitor to the elite political class, spends his time when he's not denouncing the liberal media trading gossip with them. He's the go-to guy for sometimes-unflattering stories about Donald J. Trump and for coverage of the internal politics of Fox News (not to mention stories about Mr. Carlson himself). I won't talk here about any off-the-record conversations I may have had with him. But 16 other journalists (none from The Times; it would put my colleagues in a weird position if I asked them) told me on background that he has been, as three of them put it, "a great source."

    Here's The Guardian, summarizing Smith's paywalled item:

    "In Trump's Washington, Tucker Carlson is a primary supersecret source," Smith quoted Wolff as writing in a new book of essays. "I know this because I know what he has told me, and I can track his exquisite, too-good-not-to-be-true gossip through unsourced reports and as it often emerges into accepted wisdom."

    … One "reporter for a prominent publication who speaks to Mr Carlson regularly" said: "It's so unknown in the general public how much he plays both sides." Another said: "If you open yourself up as a resource to mainstream media reporters, you don't even have to ask them to go soft on you." Smith said he would not reveal the contents of his own off-record chats with Carlson.

    Smith explains that mainstream journalists won't go after Carlson the way they nailed Glenn Beck:

    Mr. Carlson's comfortable place inside Washington media, many of the reporters who cover him say, has taken the edge off some of the coverage. It has also served as a kind of insurance policy, they say, protecting him from the marginalization that ended the Fox career of his predecessor, Glenn Beck, who also drew a huge audience with shadowy theories of elite conspiracy.

    Carlson has even cowed the New York Times itself into not covering him by spreading lies about a reporter assigned to the story, who could not complete it due to the resulting death threats and publicity.

    When a freelance writer and photographer for The Times began working on an article about his studio in rural Maine last year, Mr. Carlson pre-emptively attacked the two by name on the air and characterized one as a political activist, which Erik Wemple of The Washington Post called a "stunning fabrication." The planned article, a light feature that was nowhere close to publication, became impossible to report, after threats and a menacing incident at the photographer's house, according to The Times's media editor, Jim Windolf.

    Politico also spiked a story it was going to run about sleazy ads on Fox News to avoid Carlson's wrath, Smith reports: "Before any story could be published, Mr. Carlson went on the offensive, airing a segment attacking Politico's partnership with a Hong Kong newspaper, and he demanded that [reporter] Mr. Schreckinger answer for it."

  • Queer Games Bundle : 200 games, apps and zines to support indie creators

    The Queer Games Bundle on itch.io has already raised $83,372, which goes directly to support the people creating the games therein. There are 200 DRM-free titles in the set, ranging from zines and visual novels to art games, RPGs and shooters. The ask is $60, but you can pay what you want.

    If we had 1/3rd of the budget of an AAA game, we could give every solo developer a livable wage for a year and every single team a massive funding boost. Imagine what the developers and artists in this bundle could create a year from now if they weren't worried about starving or how to pay their rent this month.

  • How to stop people printing out web pages (or at least make it a giant pain to)

    Terence Eden reminds us that CSS—the basic, nothin'-fancy code used to style websites—has simple commands that prevents printing of websites using the normal print controls. You'd need to do something tiresome like edit the CSS with developer tools or screengrab pages to get the job done.

    I've tested this, and it works in Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. It's trivial to defeat this technical protection mechanism if you're handy with developer tools – but I guess those aren't the people who are printing off the entire Internet.

    Fun tricks. Instead of using CSS (or javascript for that matter) to hide stuff, use it to show/insert stuff the person printing (or copying) the document won't realise is there unless they closely inspect the document/paste afterwards. "Perhaps I am a plagiarist" for example, or "Leaked from the workstation at 192.168.1.155."

  • Atari "dragon" hoards retro loot and every buyer risks being eaten alive

    Best Electronics offers a unique and startlingly extensive range of genuine Atari parts, the result of proprietor Bradley Koda's canny purchases of warehouses full of then-worthless gear during the company's decline and demise. But for the enthusiastic buyer, Vice reports, he is a "temperamental dragon" guarding a hoard, happy to have it all and in no rush whatsoever to part with it: Don't Piss Off Bradley, the Parts Seller Keeping Atari Machines Alive.

    Among Atari fans, Best is almost as famous for ignoring and blacklisting badly behaved customers as it is for selling Atari parts. A first attempt to buy from Best Electronics is a sink-or-swim proposition: learn the rules, or accept your fate. Every purchase from Best Electronics requires personal interaction with Koda [who] complains bitterly when made to write up more than two invoices for a single buyer. … Koda will not handle large orders [but] will not accept PayPal orders under $50. Failure to find a happy medium quickly enough can scuttle a sale.

    But if you do enter the dragon's favor, it will be delivered in a box with genuine vintage Atari packing tape. How's that for service, decades after the fact!

  • Ben Shapiro calls for crime to be banned

    Punditry about pundits is about the worst thing on the internet, but I didn't believe this tweet from Ben Shapiro was real and feel that it's worth a post. It reminds me of his famous "just sell homes inundated by rising sea levels" remark ("Who to, Ben, Aquaman?") in that it suggests a personal reality that only fleetingly matches the consensus.

    Granted, he is the "cool kids' philosopher" as the New York Times' puts it, so perhaps he is just arguing that crime is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics.

  • Police chief insists officer accidentally ran over gunshot victim and has excuse for why it wasn't in the report

    Springfield police Officer Amanda Rosales ran over gunshot victim Eric Cole and likely killed him or contributed to his death. Police Chief Lee Graf insists it was an accident — the man was lying prone in the street and Rosales was responding to his own 911 call — and released dashcam footage from two angles. The victim's family says they're weren't told what happened, or why the incident wasn't mentioned in the police report, and have demanded accountability.

    Wilson asked Graf why she was not told "that she ran over my son."

    "I want the officer held accountable just like if they get the suspect, they will hold him accountable," Wilson said.

    Police and city officials were also criticized Wednesday because an incident report did not mention the cruiser's running over Cole. Officials said that was because a report about the shooting was separate from a report about the on-duty vehicle accident, which is being handled by the Highway Patrol.

    The man was shot, crawled out of his house and called 911, and the last thing he saw was the lights of the cop car about to crush him.

  • Connecticut lawmakers legalize marijuana

    Possession of marijuana will be legal in Connecticut beginning July 1, with retail sales to follow next year. State Senates voted 16 to 11 Thursday to approve recreational weed; Gov. Ned Lamont has already promised to sign the bill.

    "The war on cannabis, which was at its core a war on people in Black and Brown communities, not only caused injustices and increased disparities in our state, it did little to protect public health and safety. That's why I introduced a bill and worked hard with our partners in the legislature and other stakeholders to create a comprehensive framework for a securely regulated market that prioritizes public health, public safety, social justice, and equity," Lamont said in a statement. "I look forward to signing the bill and moving beyond this terrible period of incarceration and injustice."

  • St. Louis couple who pointed guns at protestors plead guilty to reduced charges and vow to do it again

    Patricia and Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty Thursday to harassment and assault charges stemming from their infamously hysterical meltdown when protestors neared their famously tasteless St. Louis mansion. But the charges were reduced to minor misdemeanors, allowing them to continue to own firearms and practice law.

    The McCloskeys pointed guns at marchers who strayed close to their property during last year's George Floyd protests, earning instant fame and, at first, more serious charges: they were indicted by a grand jury in October with unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering, both felonies.

    But after becoming conservative media stars and launching political careers on the back of the incident, they'll now lose only $2700 in fines and the two guns they pointed at protestors. Mark McCloskey emerged from the courthouse boasting that he'd do it again. Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has already said he would pardon the McCloskeys irrespective of what they are convicted of.

    The McCloskeys, both of them lawyers in their 60s, wore blue blazers and spoke calmly in answering questions from Judge David Mason during Thursday's hearing. Mason asked Mark McCloskey if he acknowledged that his actions put people at risk of personal injury. He replied, "I sure did your honor."

    "I'd do it again," he said from the courthouse steps in downtown St. Louis. "Any time the mob approaches me, I'll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that's what kept them from destroying my house and my family."