Three dead in Netherlands tram shooting

Police are hunting for a gunman who shot at least four passengers on a train in Utrecht, killing three of them, then fled. BBC:

Police say the gunman is still at large. Trains and trams have stopped running and schools have been asked to keep their doors closed. Counter-terror police reportedly say the shooting "appears to be a terrorist attack". Dutch anti-terrorism co-ordinator Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said all efforts were now focused on catching the gunman. He also said there could be more than one perpetrator.

Update: Three of the victims are reported dead. Police say they are hunting a 37-year-old Turkish man named Gokmen Tanis. They issued a photograph of Tanis taken by security camera and warned everyone to stay away from him. Read the rest

New iPad Mini, iPad Air

Android tablets being crummy and Microsoft ones being dismembered laptops, it's nice that Apple's unexpectedly announced new models of its aging iPad Mini and iPad Air.

The 10.5" iPad Air weighs one pound and starts at $499, while the 7.9" iPad Mini has pencil support, an ultra-high DPI and starts at $399. Both use Apple's latest A12 chips and have optional LTE.

The new Air effectively replaces last-gen iPads with something a little smaller and much more powerful, while the Mini should be especially interesting to artists and designers who don't want to hoik around a ~$800+ iPad Pro just to get dirty. From the press release it appears to be the last-gen pencil with the standard 60hz refresh rate, but even then the latency is in a league of its own. Read the rest

Watch French people try to say difficult English words

Hitting them with "Throughout" first is pretty sadistic. But that they stumble on "choir" suggests that they are hamming it up, un peu? Read the rest

Report: U.S. Dept. of Transportation and Justice Department investigating FAA over Boeing 737 MAX

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Department of Transportation has launched an investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration's approval of Boeing's 737 MAX jets. Two of the new airliners crashed in similar circumstances, killing hundreds of passengers, and American regulators were conspiciously slow to ground the jet even after flights were halted in other countries.

Federal prosecutors and Department of Transportation officials are scrutinizing the development of Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX jetliners, according to people familiar with the matter, unusual inquiries that come amid probes of regulators’ safety approvals of the new plane. A grand jury in Washington, D.C., issued a broad subpoena dated March 11 to at least one person involved in the 737 MAX’s development, seeking related documents, including correspondence, emails and other messages, one of these people said. The subpoena, with a prosecutor from the Justice Department’s criminal division listed as a contact, sought documents to be handed over later this month.

Read the rest

School secretary loses job after racist tirade captured on video

"Don't you dare talk to me in front of my kids like that, motherfucker!"

Jesse Leavenworth, for The Hartford Courant:

The video shows the woman, identified by a school district spokeswoman as Corinne Terrone, “repeatedly calling an African-American man the N-word in a supermarket in East Haven” on Friday night, a statement on the district website says.

“The video also appears to show the Hamden employee spitting at the aforementioned African-American male as he was walking away from the employee,” the statement says. “It also appears that the employee’s children witnessed her conduct.”

Video link. Read the rest

J.K. Rowling: Dumbledore and Grindenwald had ‘Incredibly Intense' sexual relationship

J.K. Rowling earlier declared wizarding headmaster Albus Dumbledore a gay man. Much discussion centered on why it wasn't on the page or the screen. Once again, she highlights a sexual dimension to her characters that surely motivates them, yet—for reasons unexplained—remains unspoken and unseen.

“So I’m less interested in the sexual side – though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship – than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationship,” Rowling adds.

Everything you say about your art that isn't in your art is criticism of your art.

Photo: Daniel Ogren (CC BY 2.0) Read the rest

Crowbar-wielding unicorn raids Maryland store for cash and cigarettes

A unicorn armed with a crowbar robbed a convenience store near Baltimore, say police, then fled.

Police say the suspect had fled in a silver car. They located what appeared to be the same car after it had wrecked. No other cars were involved in the wreck. Police say two people involved in the crash were taken to a hospital, and detectives are working to determine what their involvement was in the robbery. No charges were immediately filed.

Read the rest

Racist Australian Senator egged by teen after saying Christchurch massacre will eventually be "accepted"

Fraser Anning is a far-right Australian politician in the news for saying that Muslims were themselves responsible for the mass-murder of 49 people in two New Zealand mosques by a white nationalist. At a press event today, he said that such events eventually be "accepted" and was egged by a teenager, who he then punched in the face. The teen was then held in a chokehold by his supporters, arrested, and ultimately released without charge.

Here's footage of the egging, the punching, and the choking:

Here's footage that shows why the teen chose that moment to make his move:

Here's footage of the choke-hold up close, with some interesting dialogue from Anning's goons.

Read the rest

Man jailed after boasting of pelican abuse

Meet William Hunter Hardesty. Hardesty posted video of himself "manhandling and jumping on top of" a pelican in Key West, boasted about it to other vacationers, and ended up charged with animal cruelty.

Florida investigators were not amused, and the FWC issued a 10-page warrant for his arrest on charges of animal cruelty to a migratory bird and intentionally feeding a pelican.

Hardesty was apparently so proud of the recognition he got for the March 5 stunt that he bragged about it this week to some people staying at the same Ocean City, Maryland, hotel where he was staying.

Those folks called the police.

There are worse things one can do to pelicans, I suppose, but the best policy is not to do anything at all. Read the rest

Rocket launch seen from the International Space Station

It took place a few weeks ago, but it's a good day for it all the same.

Credit: NASA, ISS, Riccardo Rossi (ISAA) Music: Inspiring Adventure Cinematic Background by Maryna Details: Comments: Attribution: NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Read the rest

Gunman kills 49 in New Zealand mosque shootings

A white man in his 20s was taken into custody after killing 49 and wounding dozens more at two Christchurch mosques, reports the BBC. Authorities described him as an "extremist right-wing terrorist"; he live-streamed one of the attacks on the internet.

The attack, which came around the time people were attending the mosques for Friday prayers, was the deadliest in the nation's history.

A gunman live-streamed footage of his rampage to Facebook, filmed with a head-mounted camera. The footage showed him firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the Al-Noor mosque.

Police called on the public not to share the "extremely distressing" footage online. Facebook said it had removed the gunman's Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage.

He's been named by some media as Brent or Brenton Tarrant. A 74-page anti-immigration manifesto posted online and attributed to the killer rants about "white genocide".

The 74-page document, called The Great Replacement, consists of a rant about white genocide and lists various aims, including the creation of “an atmosphere of fear” against Muslims.

The document, which suggests an obsession with violent uprisings against Islam, claims that the suspect had “brief contact” with the Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik and that Breivik gave a “blessing” for the attack. ... In a question-and-answer section of the manifesto, the author claims he was not seeking fame and was actually a “private and mostly introverted person”.

He describes himself as an ethnonationalist and a fascist.

Read the rest

UK parliament votes to delay Brexit

Britain's parliament voted Thursday to delay Brexit, giving the government breathing room after its repeated failure to gain approval for an exit deal with the European Union. The EU must also agree to the delay, but it will likely do so quickly to help Britain avoid crashing out of the bloc on March 29. However, all states must agree to the extension, and it isn't a done deal.

Mrs May says Brexit could be delayed by three months, to 30 June, if MPs back her withdrawal deal in a vote next week.

If they reject her deal again then she says she will seek a longer extension - but any delay has to be agreed by the 27 other EU member states.

A spokesman for the European Commission said extending Article 50, the mechanism taking the UK out of the EU on 29 March, would need the "unanimous agreement" of all states.

Parliament voted Wednesday against leaving the EU without a deal, after rejecting Prime Minister Theresa May's deal on Tuesday. Read the rest

Department of Justice explains why it won't release Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman's booking photos

Celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were among those arrested this week in an unfolding scandal wherein rich people bribed officials at elite colleges, through an intermediary, to accept their unqualified children. The Department of Justice, however, says it won't be releasing their booking photos. Read the rest

Epic colony simulator Dwarf Fortress coming to and Steam

Dwarf Fortress, the astonishingly elaborate and in-depth simulation of a community of dwarves settling somewhere in the middle of a vast randomly-generated world, is getting a graphical update, a price tag, and a launch date on and other game stores. The core game will remain free of charge.

The new, premium edition of Dwarf Fortress will include actual graphics for the first time. Traditionally, the game has only offered ASCII-style icons. According to an FAQ published alongside today’s announcement, the graphics will be handled by Michał “Mayday” Madej and Patrick Martin “Meph” Schroeder, two well-regarded members of the game’s modding community. Another community member, who goes by the handle Dabu, will be handling a musical score inspired by the seasons and select bits of audio.

Steam Workshop integration may be the biggest selling point here. Fans have made many mods to supplement the core Dwarf Fortress experience. One of the most popular, called Dwarf Therapist, allows you to troubleshoot individual dwarves, digging down into their wants and needs and even controlling them in ways the base game simply doesn’t allow. Many consider Dwarf Therapist and other mods essential to the gameplay experience, and Steam Workshop support will make accessing them easier than ever before.

I'd drifted away from Dwarf Fortress as its complexity became more and more forbidding from the outset, making it hard to just jump in and play it as an ASCII-tastic Dungeon Keeper. I'm not sure if I want the premium version to reveal a more approachable version of DF or act as a kind of sadistic enticement to drown as many humans as possible in the full experience. Read the rest

New York mob boss whacked for first time since 80s

Gambino head Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali was shot eight times then run over outside his Staten Island home Wednesday night. The Daily Beast:

The triggerman left 16 holes in Cali’s body, and investigators recovered a dozen spell shell casings at the scene, a senior NYPD official told The Daily Beast.

Police on Thursday were searching for a blue pickup truck that fled the bloody scene, and were poring over home surveillance video for additional evidence, one official said.

No arrests have been made, and it was not clear if authorities had a lead on who might have whacked Cali—who had been boss of the Gambinos since 2015 and who had very close ties to the Sicilian Mafia.

He's the first New York mob boss to be whacked since the 80s, reports the BBC.

Such scenes have long been the fodder of TV dramas and big-budget blockbusters. But after a violent killing in a leafy suburb, is organised crime in New York once more on the rise?

"It's quite unheard of in New York," Oxford University professor of criminology Federico Varese tells the BBC. "It's a very significant event and shows that the Italian-American Mafia is still active."

Read the rest

Lockpicking Lawyer wins $100 proving a fancy padlock can be opened in less than three minutes

Enjoy one minute and eleven seconds of fun from the Lockpicking Lawyer, who makes short work of a Smartkey Kwikset Padlock [Amazon], which you absolutely shouldn't buy as a gift for someone whose property you have plans for. Read the rest

Public transit seating covers reviewed

Feargu O'Sullivan rounds up the good, the bad and the ugly of public transit seating options.

Seat cover designs, we believe, need to consider four things:

Memorability. They need to be striking enough to create an instant impression. • Freshness. Moquette needs to be bright enough in color to appear new(ish) after years of wear, but not so pale as to make stains or fade evident. • Intricacy. Large empty monochrome spaces show wear more quickly, and provide too tempting a canvas for vandals. • Anti-Dazzle. Moquette shouldn’t be so bright and busy that it turns stomachs.

Above, behold Pittsburgh's "cosmic spaghetti" seating, as photographed by @CatsBlanchard. Read the rest

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