Already regretting assigning Anthony Burgess to review the Samsung Galaxy Fold

“Welly, welly, well, to what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this ganjy gadget? What’s it going to be then, eh?

There was me, that is Lexa, and my pelendus Pria, Georgina, and Dim, all sat in the So Milkbar with the package sent my way, safe of the rainy blacklight without. As everybody is fast to forget, newspapers not being read much these days, this thing is quite the jem, folding like a zagamine and opening up to play any viddytube or app.

A dayback marvel, as the literature has it, so here we are ignoring the sayjaylays at the bar in favor of this mystic slab. It was the jang, or so we were told, and two grand to boot.

Unspun from its box, the ol' android came on and the hardware was alive. Oh, jala, jala! Like a sheet of rarespun heaven metal or silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now under my flicking and tapping fingertips. Gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh, flipping and folding, a wonder of wonders, even its music a cage of silk. Ah sa, my sisters, who well wanted a go and made grabby grabs at the magic machine.

"Over my baejae body girls," said I, recoiling and fending. There was yet a film on it, the protector that comes on all such things. Off I pulled this sheeting, daksal and slippy, as any would do. But within seconds there was a line and a flutter and then another and more. Read the rest

Supercut of Spongebob Squarepants characters screaming "My leg!"

It is, as they say, a running joke. One meticulously catalogued here by Noah Spongy and Jasbre. Read the rest

The Pirate Bay still lives

Despite 15 years of legal action, jailed founders, and countless takedown demands, The Pirate Bay still remains live on the 'net.

This is the story of a plain-looking website that sprung from the most fertile period of the early internet, blatantly raised its middle fingers at intellectual property laws and copyright owners and lived for what is an eternity in the timeline of digital evolution. It’s thrived, growing from 25 million users to reportedly more than double that figure over the last 10 years, and shows little sign of slowing down. “It’s a testament to what an anonymous crew can do if they really believe in the cause of giving us access to these products that are so corporatized and endlessly monetized,” John says.

Google is happy to list it:

Read the rest

British Prime Minister announces resignation

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would stand down as the leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, triggering a party leadership race. She will remain Prime Minister until a replacement is chosen, probably in July.

The BBC:

In an emotional statement, she said she had done her best to deliver Brexit and it was a matter of "deep regret" that she had been unable to do so. ... In her statement, Mrs May said she had done "everything I can" to convince MPs to support the withdrawal deal she had negotiated with the European Union but it was now in the "best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort".

She added that, in order to deliver Brexit, her successor would have to build agreement in Parliament.

"Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise," she said.

Under the UK's parliamentary system the majority party (or a coalition, if there is none) forms the government, meaning that the PM's job often changes hands without a new election.

May succeeded David Cameron three years ago, called a general election in hopes of winning a beefy democratic mandate, failed to win the election, was nonetheless able to form a government with the help of an Irish cult, then was unable to pass a Brexit deal. Read the rest

Barges strike Arkansas River dam

There's no sound in this video, posted by KARK 4 News, depicting two barges slurped inexorably into a dam on the Arkansas River.

According to locals, the unmanned barges were loaded with fertilier and broke free of their moorings.

two runaway barges broke loose Thursday on the Arkansas River, crashed into a dam in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and sank. Police shut down major thoroughfares and ordered evacuations in the area after the barges came unmoored and threatened to crash through an Interstate 40 bridge and a dam on the bloated Arkansas River.

Read the rest

Listen to an author realize her forthcoming book contains a terrible mistake

Author Naomi Wolf has a new book coming out titled "Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love". It's about the emergence of homosexuality as a concept and its criminalization in 19th-century England.

...the story, brilliantly told, of why this two-pronged State repression took hold—first in England and spreading quickly to America—and why it was attached so dramatically, for the first time, to homosexual men.

Before 1857 it wasn’t “homosexuality” that was a crime, but simply the act of sodomy. But in a single stroke, not only was love between men illegal, but anything referring to this love became obscene, unprintable, unspeakable.

In a BBC interview with Wolf, her host, historian Matthew Sweet, points out two serious problems with her work. First, she assumes "sodomy" refers to homosexuality, but a key example she uses was a child abuser and it often refers to other sexual offenses.

Secondly, she assumes the 19th-century legal term "death recorded" (for example) means the convict was executed, when in fact it means the opposite: the sentence of death being merely recorded rather than carried out, because the prisoner was pardoned and freed. A term she thought signaled draconian punishment turns out to demonstrate leniency.

A quick look at a newspaper report from the time might have sorted things out:

Oops!

Here's the tape. Sweet is polite and professional, and Wolf takes the news well, but it's very painful listening.

Fortunate that it isn't out yet (and perhaps not even printed, as the release date is months hence) so Wolf and publisher Virago can fix it. Read the rest

After double lot sold to separate owners, one of them erects fence through pool and garage

An Orlando homeowner owned a second lot next to the house. He added a pool that straddled the property lines. Then, following foreclosure, the two lots were sold to different owners, one of whom erected a fence. Over the pool. Through the garage.

When you're just dipping your toe in the real estate market

It's all so very "Florida"! Cities that don't enforce setback rules. Cities that tolerate structures spanning multiple residential lots. Sales that split combined lots into multiple lots without consideration of what is on the lots. Inspectors, appraisers and mortgage lenders saying "this is fine!". People building fences over pools and through garages. Read the rest

U.S. charges Julian Assange under Espionage Act

The U.S. Department of Justice today indicted Wikileaks' Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, the first time a publisher has been charged for revealing classified information.

Kevin Poulsen and Betsy Woodruff:

The indictment announced Thursday in Washington, D.C. charges Assange with 16 counts of variously receiving or disclosing material leaked by then-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, which WikiLeaks published as the Iraq and Afghanistan “War Logs” following Manning’s arrest. Assange is also charged with one count of conspiracy to receive the documents, and an 18th count carries over the previous charge against Assange accusing him of conspiring to violate computer hacking laws.

Assange, recently extracted from London's Ecuadorian embassy after his hosts there tired of his presence, is already serving a yearlong sentence in Britain for jumping bail in a sexual assault case. He already faces extradition to the U.S. on computer-crime charges—and possibly to Sweden, where prosecutors revived the assault case after his arrest.

Many U.S. media outlets were first to publish Wikileaks' material, working directly with Assange, and some won Pulitzer prizes for it. As University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck puts it:

"The issue isn't whether Assange is a "journalist"; this will be a major test case because the text of the _Espionage Act_ doesn't distinguish between what Assange allegedly did and what mainstream outlets sometimes do, even if the underlying facts/motives are radically different."

The actual whistleblower/leaker in the case, Chelsea Manning, served several years in jail for it. She is currently being held again, after rufusing to give further evidence to a grand jury in the Assange case. Read the rest

Playdate, a tiny game console with a big pedigree

Playdate is a tiny yellow game console with a hand-crank (!) and a monochrome display. It's being made by Panic and Teenage Engineering, with a launch roster full of game auteurs such as Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy) and Bennett Foddy (QWOP, Getting Over It). It'll be $150 and it comes out next year.

Playdate isn’t just the hardware.

It’s twelve brand new video games, one each week.

What are these games? Here’s the thing: we’d like to keep them a secret until they appear on your Playdate. We want to surprise you.

Some are short, some long, some are experimental, some traditional. All are fun.

When your Playdate lights up with a brand new game delivery, we hope you can’t wait to unwrap your gift.

There's a software development kit announced too: games are coded in Lua (as with the popular Löve and Pico-8 game engines) and C.

These are the folks behind some of the best MacOS apps going, working with top indie devs and the hardware people who created the legendary OP-1 synthesizer. I can't wait to get one and will definitely be making some brutally difficult games for it.

I'm seeing a lot of comparisons to the Gameboy, but 400×240 at 2.5" is about three times the pixel density -- not quite what Apple would qualify as a retina display, but close. So games won't have the retro blocky vibe some expect, unless a dev is intentionally pixel-doubling.

The first teaser screenshots remind me of the original mono Macs, in fact—no surprise given Panic's history! Read the rest

Terminator: Dark Fate trailer

They're semi-rebooting The Terminator, marking the first two (three?) movies as canon and relegating all the others to the franchise's timey-wimey parallel universes. Linda Hamilton is back, and so, of course, is Arnold Schwarzenegger, with Natalia Reyes and Gabriel Luna as new characters. Here's the first trailer. Read the rest

How software sterilized rock music

It's not just pitch correction: with modern music-making software, it's as easy to snap analog recordings of instruments to a time signature as it is to program EDM. When everything is quantized, says Rick Beato, it loses its humanity—and becomes boring.

People actually do this. This is why everything sounds like it's on a computer now. Because it is. ... A live drummer turned into a drum machine

Beato's a master of the software and he shows you how to do it, so his critique is technically instructive instead of just a YouTube rant about something he doesn't like. The tracks he uses really do sound uncannily "off" after being quantized. But I can't help but point out that now I want to get Beat Detective.

A good terrible project would be to quantize hits by The Beatles and other artists where isolated tracks are readily available, then reupload them to YouTube without disclosing what's been done, and watching as the quantized versions displace the originals in online media embeds, and TV and radio play, because so many people just get everything from YouTube.

For years I subtly photoshopped famous photos and paintings, posted them at inflated dimensions to fool Google Images into thinking they were the highest-quality versions, and waited for them to turn up elsewhere. I've spotted "my" versions in news stories, TV segments, even a handful of books and magazines. I have no plans to disclose them, but if you ever see, say, Henry Kissinger with mouths for eyes in a school textbook, you know who to blame. Read the rest

TV host accidentally makes fool of "brick-breaking" martial arts master

"That's incredible, I mean, I've felt these bricks, these are real bri—", says TV host Steve Uyehara as the brick turns to dust at his lightest touch. [via Reddit] "Oh! Whoa! Whaaaaaa! Check it out, baby! Guns!"

P.S. Glass is an irresponsible material for the board breaking trick! Read the rest

Soccer legend's grotesque statue mocked

George Best, a soccer legend from Northern Ireland, was immortalized in bronze, but it more closely resembles Pazuzu, the hideous demon infesting the Exorcist series of movies. Sure, it's not as bad as the Ronaldo statue...

... Or the Lucille Ball statue...

But still...

The BBC's Amy Stewart:

A new statue of George Best - the Northern Ireland and Manchester United football great - has provoked strong reactions from fans and critics alike. ... The often cruel social media sphere has not held back.

Read the rest

US cosmetics "full of" ingredients banned in Europe

There's a long list of chemicals you can't put in cosmetics in Europe that are found widely on American store shelves—often from the same companies. Oliver Milman reports on "enfeebled" U.S. regulators' inability to do anything about ingredients considered potentially harmful.

The disparity in standards between the EU and US has grown to the extent it touches almost every element of most Americans’ lives. In cosmetics alone, the EU has banned or restricted more than 1,300 chemicals while the US has outlawed or curbed just 11.

It’s possible to find formaldehyde, a known carcinogen banned in EU-sold cosmetics, in US hair-straightening treatments and nail polish. Parabens, linked to reproductive problems, are ruled out in the EU but not the US, where they lurk in skin and hair products. Coal tar dyes can be found in Americans’ eyeshadow, years after they were banned in the EU and Canada.

“In the US it’s really a buyer beware situation,” said Janet Nudelman, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Cosmetics companies can use any raw material that they like and there’s no way to know if they are safe before they reach the shelves. The contrast with the EU is stark and troubling.”

One thing that recently shocked me was how recently lead paint was banned in the U.S.-- anything slapped on the walls before the 1980s is suspect. America, land of the free and asbestos makeup for children. Read the rest

Two procedurally-generated dog-walking simulators

The Procedurally-Generated Dog Simulator is a fun illustration of pathfinding and cellular automata. All you do is walk around a cave, being followed by a single-pixel pup who is liable to get distracted by treats or scared off by skateboarders. Once I'm bored with it, I'll be checking out Mudeford, a free dog-walking simulator in glorious full 3D. If games aren't your thing, check out dog names generated by a neural network.

Shadoopy. Dango. Ray-Bella. Figgie.

Read the rest

Watch: cycling to work through cavernous limestone mines turned into a business park

He calls it YouTube's most unusual bicycle commute. It's a fair claim, too, what with pedaling daily through cavernous limestone mines repurposed as The Springfield Underground, a secure business park in Missouri.

2.5m square feet of warehouses, and who knows how many millions more yet to be developed. The caverns down here are just incredible. THE CAVES.

Here's a slideshow history of the facility, from mining to meat storage.

Vacancies are rare, according to the Springfield News-Leader. Kraft is the largest tenant. Most use it as warehousing and distribution for products that must stay cool; it is always 58° in the caves.

With about a dozen facilities, Missouri is one of the leading states in the underground real estate industry, largely thanks to its mining history and geological makeup — limestone deposits are often covered with a layer of shale, which prevents runoff water from entering old mines. In addition to Springfield Underground, local facilities include The Mountain Complex in Branson and an Americold Logistics facility in Carthage. SubTropolis, a facility in Kansas City which bills itself as "the world's largest underground business complex," has nearly 6 million square feet of space rented.

Here's a video taken coming into a different entrance:

The bike-commute video could be the intro sequence to a video game where the lights suddenly go off and you have to escape the facility, suddenly overrun by ████████, but not before you've found out what that creepy new tenant was up to and ███████████ the █████. Read the rest

Pennsylvania Judge: professor who had sex with students must be reinstated

A Bloomsburg University professor was fired for having sex with two of his female students, but a Pennsylvania court has ordered that it reinstate him. Pennlive:

The Commonwealth Court ruling upholds a June 2018 arbitrator’s decision that voided the termination of Assistant Professor John Barrett. University officials had appealed that award, which the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties union secured on Barrett’s behalf. The arbitrator ordered Barrett’s reinstatement with full benefits and back pay.

In the state court’s opinion, Judge P. Kevin Brobson noted the relationships between Barrett and the women were consensual, that neither woman was taking classes from Barrett at the time, and that the relationships were not barred by the university’s sexual harassment policy.

Barrett was also accused of groping one of the women — specifically by waking her up by touching her genitals without consent — but "the judge [found] that the supposed fondling did not amount to sexual harassment because it occurred in the context of a consensual sexual relationship."

Pennsylvania seems to have a problem with colleges being unable to rid themselves of predatory faculty and their facilitators.

Lock Haven Univeristy was forced in March to reinstate a professor it fired after learning of his past as a convicted child molester.

And here's Penn State students rioting after legendary coach Joe Paterno was fired when officials learned he helped cover up decades of child sexual abuse by his assistant, Jerry Sandusky. The college soon returned to "honoring" his memory. Read the rest

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