How to make simple browser window mockups fits any image you upload into a web browser-style frame and gives you a new image of the composite. It's perfect for turning photoshopped web design ideas into mockups so people know what they might look like in real life. Or simply as a cute frame for your favorite images, for sharing on the internet. Read the rest

Unmasked shopper asserts constitutional right to sit on the floor in Costco

In a video posted to Tiktok, a shopper asserts her constitutional right not to wear a mask in Costco, then her constitutional right to plant her rear on the floor.


Karen at Costco #karen #costco #YouGotIt #nomasknoservice #nomask #dumptrump #covid19

♬ original sound - keeping.up.with.kris

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Happy Independence Day

Most of you being American, I hope you celebrate July 4 with all the radical joy you can muster. Read the rest

Thomas Jefferson portrait recreated with distant descendant

Photographer Drew Gardner created a photo series depicting descendants of historical figures, each posed as their ancestors. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens... It's surprising how uncanny the resemblances often are. But none are so fascinating as his portrait of Shannon LaNier, the great^6-grandson of Thomas Jefferson.

The recreation was based on the famous portrait of Jefferson by American painter Rembrandt Peale, and Gardner shot his portrait using a Fujifilm GFX 50S and a Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 lens. LaNier, a black man who descended from Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, tells Smithsonian that he has complex feelings about being a Jefferson descendant, and he chose to not wear a wig to more faithfully recreate his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather’s portrait.

“He was a brilliant man who preached equality, but he didn’t practice it,” LaNier tells the magazine. “He owned people. And now I’m here because of it.”

The series was commissioned by the Smithsonian; click through for a making-of video. Read the rest

Racist professor fired

British historian David Starkey was fired today from one appointment and resigned from several others after remarking that the existence of "so many damn Blacks" showed that slavery was not a form of genocide. Canterbury Christ Church University immediately gave him the sack, while Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge said it "accepted the resignation of historian David Starkey from his honorary fellowship with immediate effect" and that "We do not tolerate racism." Former UK chancellor Sajid Javid assailed him on Twitter and the Mary Rose Trust also rid itself of him promptly.

Starkey made the remark while being interviewed by right-wing YouTuber Darren Grimes. Grimes's show, Reasoned, was launched in defense of free speech, a term he uses frequently to describe his aims, with Grimes announcing that "I want you to join us in thinking for yourself and not following the online mob." And yet...

Consider that what lured Starkey to show his colors was a promise of free speech that the promiser did not truly honor -- and that the promiser stood foremost among those condemning him. Read the rest

Cops charged with murder after tasing man 50 times

Joshua Taylor and Brandon Dingman, two officers with Wilson Police Department in Oklahoma, were charged with second-degree murder after killing a man they tased 50 times. The New York Times reports that Jared Lakey, 28, "stopped breathing and became unresponsive" and died two days later.

Court records said that “such dangerous and unnecessary tasing” was a “substantial factor” in bringing about Mr. Lakey’s death. ... Spencer Bryan, a lawyer for Mr. Lakey’s parents, Doug and Cynthia Lakey, said both officers had initially claimed that they used Tasers on Mr. Lakey only four times. He said the charges were appropriate given what was shown on Mr. Taylor’s body camera footage, which he said the city of Wilson had allowed him to view.

“I have never seen a more disturbing video,” Mr. Bryan said in an email. “After watching it, I cannot understand how the city allowed officers who exhibited such gross recklessness, resulting in a man’s death, to continue working. We have great confidence the evidence supports the charges.”

Murder is a variable. Police lying about what they did is a constant. Read the rest

Short documentary about Kharkovchanka, huge Antarctic off-road vehicles made by the Soviets

I was thinking of picking up an old Hilux but one of these will do.

Calum G: "Russia's Colossal Antarctic Cruisers which have been continuously operating in some of the most extreme environments on Earth for over 50 years. Produced in Kharkiv, Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic and originally operated by USSR, the 'Харьковчанка' (literally 'Kharkiv Women'), these amazing Snow Cruisers were built in the late 1950s and featured everything a polar explorer could need in the field. In their half-century mission, they have crossed thousands of miles on Antarctic Ice, visited the South Pole, the pole of inaccessibility as well the dozens of outposts and research stations on the continent."

Calum uses YouTube's "chapters" feature very well (click through to see them). I hope all documentarians there follow suit. Read the rest

Sealand's caretakers

Sealand is an unrecognized micronation off the coast of England, established in the 1960s and issuer of stamps, passports and occasional offshore business shenanigans ("BECOME A LORD"). But Sealand is also a rotting sea fortress in need of constant maintenance. Atlas Obscura met the two caretakers who spend two weeks at a time doing what they can to keep the statelet running smoothly. Dylan Taylor-Lehman's feature article is a great introduction to the place, if you're not familiar with it or its wild history.

Detritus from countless other projects sits on deck and in the workspaces of both towers. The server racks from its time as an offshore data haven are still assembled on the second subfloor of the south tower: a museum of turn-of-the-millennium tech. The floor below the server room is lined almost all the way around with tables, which hold all of the technical manuals from the various pieces of machinery in use on Sealand. There are also great stacks of back issues of at least four different amateur radio magazines. Sealand is, in essence, a big clubhouse where Barrington can build and experiment to his heart’s delight. He has brewed beer, read dozens of technical journals, spent “millions” of hours playing darts, and devotes a lot of his time to fixing equipment and inventing things.

“Everything is done in the most cack-handed long way so you don’t get bored. If you’re bored, get a hammer and chisel and start chiseling something or do the washing up,” he says.

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Woman points gun at mother and daughter in Chipotle car lot, charged with assault

A woman was arrested yesterday after pulling a gun on another woman and her daughter outside a Detroit-area Chipotle. (Update: she was later charged with felony assault)

The circumstances are unclear and in dispute, but mostly on film. It appears the child, who is black, and the gun owner, who is white, bumped into one another outside the restaurant in Lake Orion, Michigan, and began arguing. By the time the filming begins, mom's demanding an apology from the woman. The gun owner, calm at this point, refuses to do so and demands they step aside to let her get in her car. They do and she gets in on the passenger side, and everyone begins debating racism through the car window, with the mother and the daughter angrily accusing her of "ignorance" while the gun owner insists that "white people aren't racist".

It appears the dispute is ending, but as the vehicle begins backing out — the footage is shaky and incompete beause the person filming has begun to walk away — someone behind the vehicle shouts "you're going to hit me?" and slaps the vehicle's rear window. It isn't clear if the person was about to be bumped inadvertantly by the driver or was deliberately obstructing the vehicle.

In any case, the gun owner exits the vehicle, draws the weapon, and begins screaming and threatening.

Two clips are in circulation. The longer one (below) shows the full dispute, mostly at a distance. Read the rest

Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell arrested by FBI

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British heiress and longtime confidant of billionaire sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, is in FBI custody. She was arrested in New Hampshire, reports NBC News, and charged with conspiracy to sexually abuse children.

The six-count indictment in Manhattan federal court alleges that Maxwell helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14 years old, going back as far as 1994.

"In some instances, Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims," the indictment says. The daughter of media baron Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine was a one-time girlfriend of Epstein's and was at the high-flying investor's side for decades. But she was also alleged to have helped Epstein groom teen girls for sex with the rich and powerful. One of those teens, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, leveled that charge against Maxwell in a 2015 defamation suit, as have a number of other women.

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Trump "America First" Eagle design looks like the Nazi parteiadler emblem

America First was a protectionist movement in the early 20th century whose name ultimately became the slogan of those opposed to fighting the Nazis. Revived by the Trump campaign in 2016, its antisemitic associations galvanized supporters while alarming wavering Republicans; his use of the phrase was a key moment in the forming of the "Never Trump" movement among conservative pundits. To help win re-election, he's selling T-shirts with the phrase, using a design that's unusually close to the Nazi parteiadler emblem.

The potential for similarity between generically patriotic "American Eagle" designs and the the German imperial eagle (especially the Nazi iterations of it) means great care is usually taken to avoid specific elements of the parteiadler and reichsadler emblems. For Trump's nativist followers, though, such things are feature, not bugs.

This is usually the point where "It's a Roman eagle!" is uttered. And so it is. Just like the salute. Read the rest

Review / Logitech MX Keys

Logitech’s MX Keys [Amazon] is what it finally took to lure me away from mechanical keyboards. It’s a slim yet solidly-constructed full-size model that's similar to and superior to Apple's Magic Keyboard.

It’s flat, minimalist, heavy, solid and low-profile, with large backlit keys typeset in something similar to Futura Light. The keys are square with subtle circular depressions and no give—a big improvement over the wobbly chicklet keys infesting modern non-mechanical keyboards, not least Logitech’s own cheaper models.

It works with USB-C, Bluetooth or the included unifying receiver. (A tiny dongle; I use it instead of Bluetooth as it works in BIOS and I dual-boot). The function keys are on a shift layer, as is now standard. Modifier keys are labeled for both Windows and MacOS, a nice if slightly cluttering touch. Keys are hard to remove; spudge them from the top. The backlighting works even in wireless mode, but will run down the battery quicker. Recharging is via USB-C; there is no removable battery. It's lasted about 10 days so far on the charge it came with. A Logitech app lets a single keyboard and mouse pair be used with any computer on the network, so long as it's installed on both machines.

The MX Keys is essentially the $200 MX Craft [Amazon] without the dial or the bulky rear panel that accomodates it. At $100, the MX Keys is not cheap, but is also no more expensive than similar models such as Apple's or Microsoft's Designer Desktop.

The extra heft and weight is nice, but it's the extra travel and tactility that puts it in a league of its own. Read the rest

Britain offers citizenship to 3 million Hong Kong residents after China crackdown

The UK today promised citizenship to 3 million people in Hong Kong, a day after the city was effectively annexed by China. A former British colony established in the 1840s, Hong Kong was returned to Chinese administration in 1997 on the condition that it remain autonomous and democratic for fifty years.

About 350,000 UK passport holders, and 2.6 million others eligible, will be able to come to the UK for five years.

And after a further year, they will be able to apply for citizenship.

British National Overseas Passport holders in Hong Kong were granted special status in the 1980s but currently have restricted rights and are only entitled to visa-free access to the UK for six months.

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Australia's new logo looks like coronavirus stock art

Behold the new logo Australia shall henceforth use in its international branding efforts. It looks like coronavirus stock art and presumably cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

It will directly replace the Australia Unlimited logo, which features two boomerangs forming the shape of Australia, and will primarily be used to represent the country during trade missions and business exchange programs such as Austrade's Landing Pad program.

The decision was made in a report by Australia's Nation Brand Advisory Council, News Corp reported on Wednesday.

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As Texas's Lt. Governor rants about Dr. Fauci, Fox News plays montage of minorities in face masks

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is prominent among Republicans angry about people wearing face masks to prevent the transmission of coronavirus during the Covid-19 pandemic. He dislikes it almost as much as he dislikes Coronavirus Task Force lead Dr. Anthony Fauci, who he assailed on Fox News yesterday. Fauci, one of America's foremost disease experts, "doesn't know what he's talking about", Patrick said.

So its viewers would understand the broader point, Fox News played a montage of people wearing surgical masks as Patrick ranted on. But for one half-hidden and blurred-out face in the background, everyone in the montage was black or conspicuously dark-skinned.

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Trashtalking in chess

In this game of chess, black deploys the Sicilian Defence against 1: e4 to no avail, but follows adroitly with the Trash Talking Like An NPC Gambit. Will it be enough? The battle commences 40s in.

Previously: Chess grandmaster takes on mouthy hustler Read the rest

Family of black holes

Do you like holes? This perfectly unnerving image of two black holes merging in the accretion disk of another black hole is by Robert Hurt of NASA's Infrared Processing and Analysis Center. It illustrates a paper about energy flaring from merging singularities deep in space. (summarized by and Scientific American).

On 21 May 2019, gravitational-wave detectors from the LIGO/Virgo collaboration picked up a possible signal from the merger of two black holes. That candidate event—which has yet to be confirmed—may be connected with a brightening, or flaring, of a distant quasar, according to an astronomical team. Based on this association, the team claims that the black hole merger occurred within the gaseous disk around the quasar. The researchers predict that the merged object—presumed to be a black hole having a record-breaking mass of roughly 150 times that of the Sun—will plunge back into the disk in a year or so, creating a second flare. ...

The team’s model explains this brightening as a merger of two black holes within the quasar accretion disk. According to the model, the resulting black hole shot out of the collision at high speed, creating a shock front that heated the gas along its path. The flare was delayed by several weeks relative to the gravitational-wave signal because the light was slowed by scattering in the opaque disk. At some point, the fast-moving black hole escaped the disk, which would explain why the flare ended after about 40 days.

The researchers predict that the black hole will orbit around the quasar’s central supermassive black hole and come crashing back into the disk approximately 1.6

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