Frisbee on a frozen lake

This video shows a frisbee rolling—dancing, even—on a frozen lake in Maine. Shea Gunther: "I filmed this while out skating on Great Pond in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The disc moved entirely due to the wind." Read the rest

Mysterious swimming pool found in abandoned Baltimore townhouse

Inner Harbor Homes highlights a foreclosed home in Baltimore with an unusual feature for an urban townhouse: a deep indoor swimming pool. Read the rest

"Murder House Flip" is a house-renovation show set in homes where people were murdered

The renovation show genre has reached its zenith in this forthcoming masterwork of bald bad taste: Murder House Flip.

“We are excited to partner with Quibi to deliver a spin on a home makeover show in unique short form content,” Berman said. “‘Murder House Flip’ combines home renovations with the intriguing elements of a true crime series. Bringing healing and solace to families living in the aftermath of tragic events by transforming dark places into healthy spaces.” Each episode will be short and make perfectly consumable mobile content.

Dearly hope they hit up 112 Ocean Avenue. Above, a Colbert segment about the show; below, a post promoting it on Instagram.

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This is the first house to be shown on a new makeover show to be streamed on Quibi by the producers of CSI. It’s called Murder House Flip! Interesting angle when you thought these makeover shows had run their course. Each week they take a run down house where someone has been murdered and not only refurb it nick knowles style they get the spiritual healers in to cleanse the house. What next? #bonkers #whatnext #murderhouseflip #willyouwatchit #makeover #property #propertyadvice #propertyphotos #interestingproperty #unusualproperty #realestate #realestatephotos #propertyphotography #propertymarket #architecture #home #investment #aficionado #business #expert #authority #specialist #commentator #passionate #passion #knowledgeable #propertyconsultants #advice #helpingpeople

A post shared by Aficionado Property (@aficionadoproperty) on Sep 13, 2019 at 2:46am PDT

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Idle Idol, a frenetic free clicker-management game

Idle Idol, by Daniel Moreno, casts you as a huge immobile statue in the middle of an island. You will attract followers, but if the island gets overpopulated and things run amok, they'll destroy you in the chaos. Better give them something to die for, then.

Idle Idol is a clicker (sort-of) and resource management game about a goddess and her followers. Building temples or destroying obstacles will cost you some followers, but the temples will generate more over time. Manage your limited space around the statue to place temples.


Left Click: Select/Build/Destroy Right Click: Cancel build (if in Build mode)

By the end, you'll be furiously bouncing from that last icon on the right to empty spots on the lawn and back again: it's not a game for RSI sufferers!

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iPad stand for digital artists

The Sketchboard Pro wouldn't look like much if you didn't know what it was: a stand for the iPad Pro designed for digital artists, holding it at a perfect angle and providing more ample arm-resting space around the display. It's fifty dollars on Indiegogo and ships in March. [via Digital Arts]

The Sketchboard Pro features strong legs that easily fold out to create a comfortable 20-degree angled drawing surface. This allows you to have a drawing desk experience virtually anywhere in landscape or portrait orientation. ... Sketchboard Pro combines what you love about drawing on iPad with the traditional physical experience of making art. You are now able to use your full arm while drawing to achieve a more elegant, flowing look to your lines and bring your drawings to life.

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Sonant makes generative music you can leave on

Unlike most generative music apps, Kjetil Golid's Sonant isn't obviously just a machine slapping notes on some formulaic pattern for however long you can stand to listen to it. It's nice! But it's also fixed to a sonorous xylophone sample and background strings. Sliders control various elements of the music; I like them all maxed out, suggesting the rising crescendo of a song just before its ending, but never escaping that moment.

"Move sliders over time" would be an excellent feature to add. Read the rest

National Archives admits censoring Trump criticism from photo of Womens' March

A photo of the 2017 Womens' March published by the National Archives was altered to remove criticism of Donald Trump from marchers' signs, reports the Washington Post.

“Doctoring a commemorative photograph buys right into the notion that it’s okay to silence women’s voice and actions,” Kline said in an email. “It is literally erasing something that was accurately captured on camera. That’s an attempt to erase a powerful message.”

The altered photograph greets visitors to “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote,” an exhibit that opened in May celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1920, prohibits the federal government and states from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex.

The National Archive, the agency of the United States government tasked with preserving government focumentation and historical records, wrote that it had "made a mistake".

We made a mistake.

As the National Archives of the United States, we are and have always been completely committed to preserving our archival holdings, without

— US National Archives (@USNatArchives)January 18, 2020

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Conservative politician shared office with "Sugar Daddy" website

Jamie Wallis, a U.K. member of parliament for the Conservative Party, is having trouble explaining why he shared an office with a website that hooked up young folk and older folk with money to spend on them.

The newly-elected Bridgend MP has distanced himself from A Labour MP has said this was "clearly" contradicted by company records. James Cleverly told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday it was not his job as the chairman of the Conservative Party to investigate any claims linked to "business arrangements". One ex-staffer said he "was aware" the site was being run from the office, while another said his denial "totally lacks credibility".

Buzzfeed news is less equivocal than the BBC, putting Wallis plainly at the heart of matters.

A website run by newly elected Conservative MP Jamie Wallis promoted a “sugar daddy” service offering students financial relationships with wealthy “sponsors”., which is now defunct, asked potential clients: “Are you a student, a single parent or just short of money? 1000s of wealthy executives, international businessmen and diplomats are eager to sponsor you through these difficult times. Typical sponsorship can be £2,000 - £25,000 per year.”

Remember, there is no bottom. "Conservative pimps in parliament" is another rotten false floor on the way down.

Photo: BBC Read the rest

Toofers, a quality subreddit featuring dogs' smiles

My new favorite subreddit is r/toofers/, devoted to "dorky dog toofs", which is to say silly-looking canines with their teeth out. The exemplary toofer embedded here was posted by ilikemountaingoats. Read the rest

Not sure about this Thomas the Tank Engine reboot

Y NAKAJIMA posted this fully functional "Assault Type Thomas" to YouTube. Check out more photos at Badland Models. I dig the postapocalyptic Chp 'n' Dale.

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Every time you play this audio, it will seem to end on a higher pitch

Defacto Sound posted this short loop of audio, the sound of a tape being sped up then stopped abruptly. Each time you play it, they say, it will sound like it's getting higher in pitch. Did it do it for you? It worked for me about three times, then the effect – whatever it is – wore off. Some people report that it didn't work at all for them; others that it works every time and they feel they're going mad listening to it. Read the rest

Tools to replace swear words with grawlixes: symbols suggesting anger and obscenity

A headline earlier today benefited from some creative obfuscation of the word "motherfucker", and there's no better method than grawlixes: a set of now-traditional characters used to suggest anger, confusion, obscenity, resentment and other likely emotions behind the language. Merriam Webster:

What the #@*% Is a ‘Grawlix'? Sometimes the symbols used for a grawlix might be selected specifically for the word it's meant to represent. In the title $#*! My Dad Says, for example, the resemblance of the dollar sign and octothorpe to the first two letters of the word (you know the one) is probably not coincidental. The grawlix: it's some good $#*!.

Tinwatchman created an open-source library that "makes the web swear like a cartoon" if you want full service, but software developer Sampo Juustila simply collected the best unicode characters and emojis in a nice, easily copied-from page. Advanced grawlixen might want to roll their own from the unicode miscellaneous symbols block.

There's now an emoji called serious face with symbols on mouth - 🤬 - that fits a three-character grawlix into a single characer, but it's so tiny you can barely see the grawlix at standard type sizes.

Blambot offers Potty Mouth, a free-of-charge font of perfectly-drawn grawlixes for use by artists and designers. (Its exemplar is the image on this post!)

The grawlix originates in American comics, and was defined by Mort Walker in a 1964 article that was later collected in the 1980 book The Lexicon of Comicana [Amazon].

Wikipedia collects a few other examples:

Agitrons: wiggly lines around a shaking object or character Blurgits, swalloops: curved lines preceding or trailing after a character's moving limbs Briffits: clouds of dust that hang in the wake of a swiftly departing character or object (💨) Dites: diagonal, straight lines drawn across flat, clear and reflective surfaces, such as windows and mirrors Emanata: lines drawn around the head to indicate shock or surprise Grawlixes: typographical symbols standing in for profanities (🤬), appearing in dialogue balloons in place of actual dialogue.[2] Hites: horizontal straight lines trailing after something moving with great speed (🌠); or, drawn on something indicating reflectivity (puddle, glass, mirror) Indotherm: wavy, rising lines used to represent steam or heat (♨️, ☕) Lucaflect: a shiny spot on a surface of something, depicted as a four-paned window shape Plewds: flying sweat droplets that appear around a character's head when working hard, stressed, etc.

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Man investigates motherf🗲⚠☠er who drove into row of parked motherf⚠☠🗲ers

Ed Lawson describes the scene of an accident in no uncertain words.

"I don't know where the fuck that came from!

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Houston cop shoots black man trying to wash his car window, claims it was "terrorist threat"

An undercover cop in Houston shot a man who he claims approached his car, made terroristic threats, then reached for a gun. The man, Keith Martin, 45, says he was simply offering to clean his car. Martin survived his injuries, but is stuck in jail.

Martin, 45, survived the shooting and has since been charged with misdemeanor terroristic threat. His backpack did not contain a gun, but rather his car detailing equipment and cellphone, said his lawyer Andre Evans. Martin runs his own mobile car detailing service, Evans said.

In the statement, Evans said the shooting was “unjustified” and that the officer’s actions displayed racial bias. Martin, who is black, remains in Harris County Jail in lieu of a $2,000 bond.

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Christopher Tolkien, 1924-2020

Christopher Tolkien, custodian and mastermind of his father's literary estate, is dead at 95.'s Andrew Liptak:

In 2017, Tolkien stepped down as the director of the Tolkien Estate and Tolkien Trust, saying at the time that Beren and Lúthien would likely be his final book. Tolkien was a staunch critic of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of his father’s trilogy, telling Le Monde in 2012 that “They gutted the book, making it an action movie for 15-25 year-olds, and it looks like The Hobbit will be the same.” His death comes at a time when his father’s books are more popular than ever, and as Amazon works to create a massive TV series based on the works that he himself helped bring to the public.

While Tolkien was the author behind the world of Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien was the one responsible for ensuring that his father’s stories remained in the public view by continuing to publish develop the backstory of the world that has influenced and inspired fans around the world.

Christopher drew the original map of Middle-Earth, excerpted above, with annotations from J.R.R. He was no mere editor; his Complete History of Middle Earth [Amazon] is a twelve-volume encylopedia-cum-biography that's both penetrating and impenetrable. Read the rest

Woman paints bugs around unpatched potholes

A British woman has defiantly rejected criticism from Lincolnshire County Council, which has asked her to stop spraying paint bugs around potholes that it has failed to patch. Locals have nicknamed her "Bugsy" in honor of the crude but colorful roadway creations.

Lincolnshire County Council said repair of the hole would be delayed due to the paint having to be removed.

"On Friday night I was going along and hit a pothole which burst my tyre," Ms Holland said. "I took it to the tyre place on Saturday and £53 later I decided I'd had enough. I went and bought some spray paint and I made it into a bug. If I can save people from getting a bill like I did then it's worth it."

Sounds to me like Ms. Holland should be equipped with some sidewalk spray chalk [Amazon]: highlights the danger and puts a fire under the council, but washes away with water.

Photos: Karan Holland. Read the rest

Celebreedy uses AI to combine faces of stars

Celebreedy breeds new celebrities from other celebrities, using a generative adversarial network. It's the work of Eric Drass, who has a website.

Eric holds a degree in Philosophy and Psychology (Oxford) and an unfinished PhD in Cognitive Psycholinguistics (also Oxford). He is co-author on a number of patents dealing with PRISM-type surveillance technologies (long before PRISM became public), and a number of academic papers relating to neural network models of language acquisition and heritability.

He also used to be a singer in an experimental hardcore band, an unsuccessful male model, and once took at dotcom 1.0 company from a bedroom project to 14 countries and back, spending $50m on the way. Twenty years ago he was a TV star in America, but he doesn’t like to talk about it.

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