Anderson Cooper calls out Donald Trump's "frankly idiotic" son for lying about storm photo

When Hurricane Ike hit 10 years ago, Anderson Cooper did a segment where he walked around in floodwaters while being filmed from higher ground, which he pointed out to viewers. Don Jr. tweeted a still photo taken from the segment and implied it depicted Anderson kneeling during last week's Hurricane Florence to make its floodwaters look deeper than they were. So Cooper did a whole new segment about what a lying idiot Don Jr. is.

“I’ve covered hurricanes for about 14 years and it really does make me sad to think that anyone would believe that I would try to fake something or overly-dramatize a disaster. I debated whether I should even respond to the president’s son. I know he believes himself to be an outdoorsman and pays a lot of money to be led to wildlife in Africa that he then kills, but I’m not sure if he’s ever actually been to a hurricane or flood. I didn’t see him down in North Carolina in the last few days helping out, lending a hand, but I’m sure he was busy doing something important besides just tweeting lies.”

It's remarkable just how many conservative pundits posed this shot as such. Here's one who wrote a book titled "The True Story of Fake News: How Mainstream Media Manipulates Millions":

They really don't give a damn about whether things are true or not anymore, and the rest of us are still way behind on adapting to that reality. Read the rest

Elon Musk sued by cave rescuer he called a "child rapist" then dared to sue

Angry that cave rescuer Vernon Unsworth made fun of his ridiculous rescue submarine, Elon Musk called him a "pedo" and, later, a "child rapist," then dared him to sue over the remarks. Unsworth has filed his lawsuit.

The defamation lawsuit will extend an episode that has made even Musk’s biggest supporters squirm, with several inside Tesla, Musk’s electric automaker, questioning why he remains so committed to doubling down on what they regard as a self-inflicted embarrassment.

Unsworth is seeking more than $75,000 to compensate for the “worldwide damage” he suffered following Musk’s attacks, uttered by Musk in July to his more than 22 million Twitter followers. Unsworth, through his attorney, said Musk’s claim was baseless and lacked evidence.

“Elon Musk falsely accused Vern Unsworth of being guilty of heinous crimes,” Unsworth’s attorney, L. Lin Wood, said in a statement. “Musk’s influence and wealth cannot convert his lies into truth or protect him from accountability for his wrongdoing in a court of law.”

A similar lawsuit was filed in London, where libel laws are more plaintiff-friendly. Unsworth is British, though, and Musk's remarks are completely bonkers, so it's not as if Unsworth is forum-shopping.

Even if Musk has some oppo-research dirt on Unsworth he's been sat on all this time, and there's no evidence at all that he has, what's the point? Musk's behavior has the air of pathology about it in general, and this only reminds everyone of the whole of it. Read the rest

Read Christine Blasey Ford's letter accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her

A redacted version was "read" to CNN, it reports. Brett Kavanaugh, who has signalled willingness to both overturn Roe v. Wade and to immunize the presidency from indictment or prosecution, is Trump's pick for the vacant Supreme Court seat. Christine Blasey Ford is the California professor who claims he tried to rape her when she was 15 and he 17. An excerpt:

Kavanaugh physically pushed me into a bedroom as I was headed for a bathroom up a short stair well from the living room. They locked the door and played loud music precluding any successful attempt to yell for help.

Kavanaugh was on top of me while laughing with REDACTED, who periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh. They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh's hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.

From across the room a very drunken REDACTED said mixed words to Kavanaugh ranging from "go for it" to "stop."

At one point when REDACTED jumped onto the bed the weight on me was substantial. The pile toppled, and the two scrapped with each other. After a few attempts to get away, I was able to take this opportune moment to get up and run across to a hallway bathroom. I locked the bathroom door behind me. Both loudly stumbled down the stair well at which point other persons at the house were talking with them.

Remember that this is a transcript of a phone conversation and may not be the verbatim text of Ford's letter. Read the rest

Spiders blamed after broken siren played creepy nursery rhymes randomly at night to UK townsfolk

Floating in on the wind, yet again, the sound of It's Raining, It's Pouring being sung by a child on the creepiest siren in Britain. Read the rest

Modern web design best practices

Casper Beyer's How to Design for the Modern Web is grimly amusing.

1. Let Users Know About Your Mobile Application

The very first thing you must do when a user visits your website is to show them a big modal dialog telling them that they should just install the mobile application instead.

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Moist mug

"Moist" is assuredly the worst word in the English language, a conclusion backed by science. And now you can have it inscribed in delightful mock gold on this handsome 16-oz unisex mug from Amazon.

"I absolutely love this mug, the flowers and gold leafed 'Moist" are kind of amazing, if not really weird and slightly creepy," wrotes verified Amazon customer Eric Byers, "but that's kind of the point." Read the rest

7 hurt in Shriner camel rampage

The spooked camel was brought under control in seconds, report witnesses at a Pittsburgh Shriner Circus, but sent six children and one adult to hospital Sunday afternoon. The worst injury was a broken arm.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that two children and an adult were riding the camel during an intermission Sunday at the Shrine Circus at PPG Paints Arena when it became startled. The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. as people were buying rides on tethered camels, ponies or elephants led by handlers. Public safety and circus officials did not immediately know what startled the camel.

KDKA posted footage and got some more eyewitness reports: “They were giving camel rides and camels were walking around calmly. And then a kid threw a shovel at the camel’s feet, which startled the camel and it started to buck,” Ruthie Kester, of Latrobe, said.

Read the rest

Kavanaugh's alleged victim, a California psychologist and professor, tells her story

Christine Blasey Ford is a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California: “I thought he might inadvertently kill me. He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

When the first murmurs of this sounded last week, conservatives had a 65-signature letter of support from women classmates ready to roll. They knew it was coming, and many of them are now talking like they knew it was true:

Photo: Jim Bourg/Reuters Read the rest

Pennsylvania to end prison book donations, forcing inmates onto pricey eBook platform

Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections is planning to ban free book donations to inmates by mail, claiming that this is a "primary avenue for drugs" to enter prisons. But the move coincides with a renewed push to get prisoners buying into a pricey prison eBook system that offers low-end tablets for $150 and eBooks no cheaper than $3 a read.

"Effective immediately, the DOC will begin to transition to ebooks coupled with bolstered DOC library system featuring centralized purchasing and ordering process," the DOC announced at its website. "No books or publications will be shipped directly to an inmate. ... [we] will no longer accept books donated directly to individual inmates.”

Presented as evidence by the DOC was a letter from a prisoner it said "describes how to smuggle drugs through a popular book donation program." As the Prisoners Lit Project and others pointed out, though, the letter didn't say anything at all about drugs: "the poor guy just wanted a dictionary!"

The project describes itself as an all-volunteer grassroots group that sends free books to prisoners in the United States. It sends 30-40 packages a week to prisoners—no drugs included—and plans to fight what it sees as an "unfair and shortsighted change" that will effectively end the program.

"Banning books from 'books to prisoners' organizations is inhumane," it wrote.

Another similar organization, Book' Em, said it mails hundreds of book packages to prisoners and would push back against the policy.

A third, Books to Prisoners, said that Pennsylvania prisons' libraries are underfunded and often inaccessible and challenged the DOC's claims otherwise. Read the rest

Disgraced radio host publishes 7000-word pity piece about himself in Harper's

In August 2017, the powerful public radio star John Hockenberry mysteriously left his job as host of “The Takeaway,” abandoning millions of listeners on hundreds of stations. A few months later, the reasons became clear: he was accused of creepy sexual propositions, complaints from co-hosts, ass-touching, grabbing and kissing producers and other women colleagues, and bullying, racist and sexist remarks. He admitted his behavior was "not always appropriate," laid low for a few months, and is now back with a lavishly self-pitying 7,000-word cover story in Harper's about his "exile" and how terrible it's all been for him.

Do I dare make a spirited defense of something once called romance from the darkness of this exile, at a nadir of my personal credibility, at a moment when all of civilization seems to be in turmoil, over what is a plausible narrative of male/female attraction? Not only do I dare, knowing what righteous anger is out there, I really believe I have no choice.

Ah yes, romance. Here's Hockenberry's idea of romance:

The vacant seat was filled, for about four months, by African-American journalist Farai Chideya. Initially Hockenberry was friendly, she said, but when it seemed like she might become a regular, he “got nastier.” One day, after a story meeting in which Hockenberry became argumentative, she said, he called her into his office. “You shouldn’t stay here just as a ‘diversity hire,’” he told her, according to Chideya. “And you should go lose weight.”

Even The New York Times' Michelle Goldberg, trying to conjure up sympathy, is having none of that: "Reading Hockenberry’s essay, it hit me: I feel sorry for a lot of these men, but I don’t think they feel sorry for women, or think about women’s experience much at all."

...the most frustrating parts of “Exile” are where he casts himself as the victim of the women who spoke out against him.

Read the rest

Classic sports video games, one per sport

Wide World of Sports Video Games picks just one classic video game to represent each sport and organizes them into a neat gallery. It's the work of Tim Szetela, with Jason Eppink and John Sharp.

Players compete in more than 8,000 different sports around the world, but many sports video games focus on baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. Wide World of Sports Video Games explores the range of sports that have been adapted to video games over their 60-year history, featuring 123 different sports from Aerobics to Zumba.

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Tool to create pixel art particle effects

Davit Masia, creator of Pixatool (previously), made another app for pixel artists with Manuel Jesus Bolanos Gomez—this time with the focus on movement. Pixel FX generates particle effects such as clouds, smoke, fire and fog.

With Pixel FX Designer you can create awesome particle effects with the ability to giving them a pixelart feel by tweaking several options and render them to .png sprite sheets or .gifs.

You can export the original particle render just disabling any pixelation or palette limitation. Or you can add effects like Glow, Outline,etc... all works in real time to see the final FX visual.

There's a lot of settings to make sure the output matches the aesthetic of your game or animation: restricted pallettes, custom dithering patterns, draw-your-own particles, and so on.

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Gentleman who thinks Confederates were the good guys in the Civil War gets epically self-owned

In this clip from Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, Florida gun store owner and George Zimmerman pal Andy Hallinan explains that the Civil War was not about slavery. He is then asked what it was about. [via Lachlan]

Hallinan: The majority of people believe that it is a symbol of heritage, that it is a symbol of our history, that people think is associated with the South, and the South was fighting for slavery — that’s a common misconception about what actually took place. When you study the history, that was one thing that the war was about. People don’t go to war for one issue.”

Interviewer: Name three other things the war was about.

Hallinan: Uh, I mean, I’m not a historian. I mean, you’re putting me on the spot for something I — you know.

[a few seconds of silence]

Interviewer: So we got one thing the war was about -- slavery. What are two other things that the war was about.

Hallinan: Um, um, the Confederate... the, uh, um... in general, the war was about tyranny.

Interviewer: What is tyranny?

Hallinan: Tyranny is any time a government overreaches, and they control a life too much.”

Interviewer: Like slavery?

Hallinan: [silence, followed open mouthed silence]

Read the rest

Aung San Suu Kyi backs jailing of journalists

Myanmar's head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi, has backed the jailing of reporters who exposed details of the massacre of Rohingya men by her government's armed forces.

The Reuters pair were sentenced to seven years in prison on 3 September for violating the state secrets act while investigating a massacre of Rohingya men by the military at a village called Inn Din in Rakhine state.

The two Myanmar nationals had been arrested while carrying official documents which had just been given to them by police officers in a restaurant.

They said they were set up by police, a claim backed by a police witness in the trial.

It's easy to make jokes about her heel turn, but the growing pile of corpses under Aung San Suu Kyi is no laughing matter. As the BBC's Jonathan Head adds:

Not once at the World Economic Forum event did Aung San Suu Kyi acknowledge the suffering of the Rohingyas, or the allegations of appalling atrocities against them by her armed forces. Instead she deflected the question. ... And she fell back on a favourite refrain - the rule of law. It should apply equally to all communities in Rakhine, she explained. The two Reuters reporters, she said, were found to have broken the law, they were not punished for their journalism.... The colonial-era Official Secrets Act is so vague and sweeping it criminalises obtaining or reading any document the government deems sensitive. Under these conditions the term "rule of law" has little meaning.

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President Trump falsely claims 3000 death toll in Puerto Rico is a lie

The Republican president speaks for the Republican Party.

3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000.... [twitter]

....This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico! [twitter]

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017. The 2,975 count comes from a George Washington University study, published in July, which included people who died of thist, starvation, disease or neglect as a direct result of the storm. 64 (not "6 to 18") were reportedly killed outright by drowning, falling debris, in collapsing buildings, etc. Read the rest

Insider build of Windows 10 warns users not install Firefox and Chrome

Edge isn't doing so well: Chrome still rules the web roost, and Firefox is resurgent. But Microsoft can do something about that.

Companies like Google or Microsoft have used their market position in the past to push their own products. Google pushes Chrome on all of its properties when users use different browsers to connect to them, and Microsoft too displayed notifications on the Windows 10 platform to users who used other browsers that Edge was more secure or power friendly.

The intercepting of installers on Windows is a new low, however. A user who initiates the installation of a browser does so on purpose.

The popup explicitly describes itself as a warning—as if intercepting malware. 2018's Microsoft, same as 1998's Microsoft.

Read the rest

Older folk enjoying more weed

With legalization comes acceptance. With acceptance comes more use by respectable grownups.

About 9 percent of U.S. adults between ages 50 and 64 used marijuana in the the previous year, according to survey results. About 3 percent of people over 65 used the drug in that time period. This appears to be up from years past. In 2013, the same survey reported that 7 percent of middle-aged Americans used marijuana in the previous year, and only 1.4 percent of people over 65.

Here's the research: Marijuana use by middle-aged and older adults in the United States, 2015–2016. Read the rest

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