• Judge approves legal name change for Elon Musk's trans daughter

    ABC News reports that a judge in California has approved the name change requested by Elon Musk's daughter. The woman, 18, filed the legal papers in April.

    "A new birth certificate reflecting the change of gender as described above shall be issued," stated a minute order issued by the judge's clerk. No objections to the petition were filed, which was brought April 18, the day after the petitioner's 18th birthday. "I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form," the petitioner stated in court papers.

    Perhaps not the last of Musk's children to have a name change approved by a judge in the coming years.

  • Republican state Senate candidate arrested after punching woman in face at abortion rights rally. He's a cop, too.

    Jeann Lugo, an off-duty police officer and Republican state Senate candidate in Rhode Island, was arrested Saturday and charged with assault after punching a woman in the face at an abortion rights rally in Providence. Lugo's attack was caught on camera by podcaster Bill Bartholomew as thousands rallied at the State House there. The woman is one of Lugo's opponents in the forthcoming election, writes ABC News.

    According to the police report, [Jennifer] Rourke was struck twice in the head. She told police Lugo did not say anything during the assault, but fled after the third punch. "I'm a reproductive rights organizer & State Senate candidate. Last night, after speaking at our Roe rally, my Republican opponent — a police officer — violently attacked me," Rourke wrote in response to the footage.

    Lugo, whose campaign website appears to be down Sunday morning, was also charged with disorderly conduct.

    CBS News reports that he's been suspended, with full pay.

    Providence P.D. confirms, saying that he's been on the force for three years.

    Bartholomew posted longer video shows that Jennifer Rourke was trying to de-escalate trouble brewing at the protest.

    She shared what happened on Twitter:

    Amazing that Lugo lived 35 years without ever cold-cocking a woman in the face, and the first time he ever did it, it was miraculously caught on camera.

  • Brian Laundrie admitted killing Gabby Petito in notebook confession

    As obvious as it always was that #vanlife murderer Brian Laundrie killed his girlfriend Gabby Petito, his own death obscured hers and denied her family any chance of justice. It turns out he confessed to his notebook, though, such was his need to justify himself. CNN:

    "I don't know the extent of Gabby's ingerys (sic) only that she was in extreme pain. I ended her life, I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn't go on without her," he wrote.

    A narcissist to the grave.

  • Crypto electricity use falling with its value

    As cryptocurrency loses its value, less electricity is being used, reports Alex Hern for The Guardian. It's a simple problem: the cost of energy isn't falling, so it's becoming uneconomical to mine crypto. Who benefits? Gamers! A GPU-buying tip tip, though, from James Archer at Rock Paper Shotgun: skip the shady mass-seller eBay deals, as prices are likewise falling on local, see-it-in-person venues like Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace. Even Amazon seems well-stocked after years of scarcity and price-gouging.

  • Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortion

    The Supreme Court of the United States today overturned Roe. v. Wade in a 6-3 ruling which eliminates the right to an abortion. State bans on abortion, on the books or expected imminently in about half of U.S. states, may now be enforced.

    The decision, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump. The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step. It puts the court at odds with a majority of Americans who favored preserving Roe, according to opinion polls.

    While Alito's opinion is today's hammer, Justice Clarence Thomas's concurrence takes aim at rulings which legalized contraception, homosexuality and gay marriage—the cutting edge to come: "in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell."

  • 1920s footage of one of the world's oldest surviving roller coasters

    My son got to go on his first rollercoaster recently, and it turns out it's one of the oldest coasters in world still in operation. Here's footage from 1920, or therabouts, of Kennywood Park's Jack Rabbit, surely as terrifying then as it is now!

    From Wikipedia:

    The Jack Rabbit was built shortly after Miller patented a new track design in 1920 (which all wooden coasters built since have used). This design involved the use of wheels both under and over the track, which allowed Miller to create the then enormous 70-foot (21 m) drop that is the attraction's largest. It is most well known for its double dip element following the lift hill. The double dip produces strong airtime that makes the rider feel that they will be thrown from the seat, and a feeling that the train leaves the track (it rises up but the upstop wheels keep it firmly on the rails).

  • A gun in every pocket: Supreme Court strikes down restrictions on concealed carry

    It's rootin' tootin' shootin' time in New York and anywhere else (i.e. California and various New England/eastern seaboard states) that places restrictions on firearms concealed upon one's person—restrictions now struck down by the highest court in the land.

    The Supreme Court STRIKES DOWN a New York gun-control law that required people to show "proper cause" to get a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home. The vote is 6-3.

    Breaking headlines (such as this one) tend to simplify rulings whose text tailors to circumstances. Scotusblog is a good account to follow for the latest news on the nation-remaking court.

  • The Fall of Númenor is a "new" book from J.R.R. Tolkien

    It's as close to an Amazon Lord of the Rings tie-in you'll get from the deathless J.R.R. Tolkien: a new volume drawn from notes, footnotes and appendices covering the era of Middle-Earth in which the forthcoming TV spectacular dwells. Behold The Fall of Númenor.

    Brian Sibley:

    As my many friends in the Tolkien Society will understand, it has been a great honour to have been entrusted with the task of bringing together J.R.R. Tolkien's writings (under the editorship of Christopher Tolkien) relating to the dramatic history spanning the Second Age of Middle-earth. I hope that this opportunity to read, as a single narrative, an account of those years, will provide a new appreciation of how the monumental events of the Second Age were to impact on those told in The Lord of the Rings.

    Also for Tolkien aficionados, there is the glorious gift of ten new colour plates by Alan Lee, featuring scenes – such as the building of Barad-dûr and Galadriel leading the Elves through Khazad-dûm – that this master illustrator hasn't previously had the opportunity to depict.

  • Turn an old Android phone into a web server

    Using a clunky old desktop as a dev box? Wasting money every month on the cloud? Trash it all and use an old phone instead—so long as you're OK with its very specific environment and limitations. The instructions focus on Ruby frameworks but once you have Termux up and running a more generic LAMP stack is surely a one-liner away. If you like living dangerously, you can even expose it to the internet!

    If you've watched Mr Robot, you know that the internet can be a dangerous place. That is a lot more true if you have a web server open to the internet. Within a few hours of opening up the server, it was already being crawled by all sorts of things. Most are innocuous indexing robots, but some are definitively not so nice…

  • Canadian lawmakers to be given mobile panic buttons for when right-wing goons come to kill them

    Members of Parliament in Canada are to be given panic buttons "amid growing harassment, intimidation and threats of violence," reports the BBC. The buttons, which summon police, were announced by Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.

    MPs are also being offered cameras, alarms and other security measures to be installed in their homes, and training on how to de-escalate potentially violent situations.

    "We need to have a space where we can have vigorous debates without seeing the level of vitriol and near physical confrontation and out and out incitement to violence and death threats," Mr Mendicino said.

  • Jury finds Bill Cosby raped teen at Playboy Mansion

    Bill Cosby, released from jail after his rape conviction was tossed in Pennsylvania, was today found liable for sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 1975 at the Playboy Mansion. Cosby does not face imprisonment in the civil action, but must pay his victim, who was then 16 years old, $500,000.

    The civil case against Cosby in Santa Monica, California, was the first to go to trial and represented one of the last remaining legal actions against him. Filed in 2014, it was delayed for years by Cosby's criminal proceedings. Ms Huth's suit alleged that he brought her and another underage friend to the infamous mansion, lured her to a bedroom and forced himself on her.

    He didn't even show up in court.

  • Why webcams—even the expensive Logitech models—are so low-quality

    Jeff Carlson puts a number of webcams through their paces, including the models tipped by recommendation sites, and demonstrates that all of them—even an expensive Logitech model that costs $200—look worse than even the front-facing webcam on a 7-year-old iPhone. They're all terrible.

    Uneven color. Blown highlights. Smudgy detail, especially in low light. Any affordable webcam (even at the high end of affordability, $100+), uses inadequate and typically years-old hardware backed by mediocre software that literally makes you look bad. You might not notice this if you're using video software that makes your own image small, but it will be obvious to other people on the call.

    Matters won't change for reasons that are hard to pin down, but the pandemic was an obvious driver of demand. We can just hook up our nice mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, too, meaning the hypothetical market for high-end webcams is saturated with gadgets we already have.

    That brings us to the other factor keeping webcam innovation restrained: manufacturers aren't as invested in what has been a low margin business catering to a relatively small niche of customers. Apple's research and development budget over six months is more than Logitech's gross yearly revenue, because Apple realized that the iPhone's camera could be a serious competitive advantage.

    Wirecutter recommending the Logitech C920 (top right in the collage above) is particularly astounding. "Superb image quality" indeed. Carlson has a better tip!

  • Miami cop to black driver he pulled over: "this is how you guys get killed"

    Depending on how you see the world, this Miami-Dade officer says out loud the plain truth of being black around cops—comply or die—or is a good egg concerned that the driver forgot to put his seatbelt on.

    The driver, Gerardson Nicolas, said the interaction took place while he was driving to work. He admitted he wasn't wearing his seatbelt when he was stopped on Northeast 159th Street near 18th Avenue. "Give me your driver's license, registration and insurance. If not you will not be going to work today. Simple thing man. This is how you guys get killed out here man," the officer tells him.

  • Lethal "fractal burning" woodworking hack has killed dozens

    Burning Lichtenberg figures into wood with electricity is a staple of DIY craft compilations knocking around social media. But the instructions contained in some of those videos and how-to guides are lethal, killing at least 34 people who attempted to recreate the "fractal burning" effect. In this video (jump to 7:22) YouTuber Ann Rearson summarizes the deadly "hack" and warns off anyone thinking of attempting it themselves.

  • Smart jacuzzis hacked

    Security researchers discovered a vulnerability in the network backend for a range of "smart" jacuzzis, reports Matthew Gault for Vice. From the report it seems that hijinks with the tubs themselves were not in play, sadly, but vast amounts of user information and account credentials were.

    Then Eaton used a program called Fiddler to intercept and modify some code that told the website they were an admin, not just a user. They were in, and could see a wealth of information about Jacuzzi owners from around the world. "Once into the admin panel, the amount of data I was allowed to was staggering. I could view the details of every spa, see its owner and even remove their ownership," he said. "Please note that no operations were attempted that would actually change any data. Therefore, it's unknown if any changes would actually save. I assumed they would, so I navigated carefully."

    Photo: Michaela Pereckas (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Elon Musk's adult daughter is transgender and wants nothing to do with him

    I wonder what it is about notorious edgelord Elon Musk that led his transgender daughter to emancipate herself from him upon reaching 18 years old? The BBC reports that she filed paperwork in April to change her legal name and gender.

    Elon Musk's transgender daughter has applied to legally change her name and gender, saying she no longer wants to "be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form".

    The fact that he acts out publicly, often on the specific matter of gender, while having a young daughter going through this? Imagine being a 16- or 17-year old transwoman and seeing your billionaire dad post this sort of thing to entertain himself and millions of snarling psychopaths.

  • Delft blue ceramic weapons

    Helena Hauss (previously at BB) created this amazing set of handpainted Delft blue ceramics: "An approach to represent the inner strength and fury that comes with being a woman, in contrast to an appearance of delicacy we're too often branded with."

    Replicas are on offer!

    Here's a video of Hauss painting: