Retro Atari console designer quits, says he hasn't been paid

The reborn VCS looked like a thoroughbred among a field of retro nags, wedding Atari's classic pedigree to powerful modern hardware. But its designer has quit the project, according to The Register, claiming he hasn't been paid and that the project is a mess.

It is unclear whether Atari will be able to complete its beleaguered project without Wyatt. It only received a prototype motherboard last month, and Wyatt and his team were in the middle of debugging it before deciding to draw stumps and quit. The task of finalizing the hardware will likely fall to SurfaceInk, another company that Atari has contracted to complete the console. SurfaceInk has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Apparently Atari was also working with a crowdfunding entrepreneur named Feargal Mac Conuladh, but ghosted him when its VCS campaign soared to a $3m haul, and ended up paying a substantial settlement.

"Atari" is the remains of Infogrames, a French software house that bought what was already a zombie brand in 2009 and at this point appears to comprise of three lawyers and a licensing agreement taped to a photocopier. Read the rest

PlayStation 5 announced and detailed

PlayStation 5 is coming for winterval 2020, and will have ... drum roll ... USB-C. Read the rest

Chinese farmers breeding pigs as heavy as polar bears

Bloomberg News reports on the porcine powerhouses bred in the People's Republic.

The 500 kilogram, or 1,102 pound, animal is part of a herd that’s being bred to become giant swine. At slaughter, some of the pigs can sell for more than 10,000 yuan ($1,399), over three times higher than the average monthly disposable income in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province where Pang Cong, the farm’s owner, lives. ... The large swine are being bred during a desperate time for China. With African swine fever decimating the nation’s hog herd -- in half, by some estimates -- prices of pork have soared to record levels

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20 mini-moons spotted orbiting Saturn

Saturn "has overtaken" Jupiter as the planet with the most satellites, at least in our own system: 82 to the larger world's 79. A team "discovered a haul of 20 new moons" around the ringed gas giant, as the BBC puts it, putting it in the lead.

The moons were discovered using the Subaru telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii.

Each of the newly discovered objects in orbit around Saturn is about 5km (three miles) in diameter; 17 of them orbit the planet "backwards".

This is known as a retrograde direction. The other three moons orbit in a prograde direction - the same direction as Saturn rotates.

I suspect they were there all along. Read the rest

The Story of Ulillillia

Nick "Ulillillia" Smith is a game developer, writer and YouTuber who achieved recognition in the early 2010s due to his eccentricity, the shameless intensity of his outsider-art creations, and his adherence to a diet incompatible with human life. The subject of an unreleased 2012 documentary, whose promising trailer alone threatened to extend his fame far beyond forum culture, he faded from prominence (along with the rest of the Old Web) as social media took over and the age of online discovery ended. Atrocity Guide created this 20-minute recap of his story so far. Read the rest

Big list of open-source MacOS apps

Serhii Londar (Patreon) maintains a list of open-source applications available for MacOS. Unlike some similar guides, it's exhaustive rather than curated, and easy to reference in a single, well-organized HTML page.

List of awesome open source applications for macOS. This list contains a lot of native, and cross-platform apps. The main goal of this repository is to find free open source apps and start contributing. Feel free to contribute to the list, any suggestions are welcome!

I found out about Screentendo, which turns your screen into a Mario level. Read the rest

U.S. diplomat's wife flees Britain after killing man in road accident

After killing a man in a road accident, Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat, was interviewed by police and promised not to leave the country while the incident was investigated. She quickly fled to the U.S., and now Britain is asking its ally to waive diplomatic immunity and send her back.

Anne Sacoolas is wanted by police over the death of motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, in Northamptonshire on 27 August.

The US State Department said diplomatic immunity was "rarely waived".

Boris Johnson said the UK would speak to the US ambassador and "if we can't resolve it then... I will be raising it myself with the White House".

A nice amuse-bouche for Boris Johnson's forthcoming feast of humiliations at the hands of Donald Trump, should he last long enough in office to eat the main course.

Danny Glover was not available for comment as of press time. Read the rest

Burger King staff refused to read menu for blind customer

All Medina Hall wanted was to be told if the brownie had nuts in it. But staff at a Burger King in Folkestone, England, refused to read the ingredients list to her off the menu — she is blind — claiming that there were rules that forbade them from doing so. Burger King apologized to Hall.

A Burger King spokesman said: "We would firstly like to apologise to Medina, her experience this week is not reflective of the high standards we would expect within any of our restaurants.

"Everyone should have an enjoyable experience when they visit us and we are looking into this matter further."

He added: "I can also confirm that there is no such policy to refrain from reading allergen information to visually-impaired customers."

Read the rest

Man pretending to be cop arrested by actual cop

In this video, bodycam footage shows a young man in jeans and a vaguely authoritarian shirt leaning into a driver's window. The bodycam wearer quietly approaches on foot, as if acting as backup on a stop in progress. But it soon becomes clear the two "officers" don't know each other and, well, perhaps you can guess the rest.

There's a fine comic moment not far in:

"What's your name?"

"Brenden Wysynski."

"How do you spell that?"

"B. R. E. N. D. E. N."

Fire and Police Videos obtained lapel footage of an Albuquerque Police Department investigation and arrest of 18-year-old Brenden Wysynski for posing as a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office deputy.

Wysynski unlawfully pulled over a citizen for speeding and a passing Albuquerque Police Officer noticed something was off about the traffic stop.

He had pulled over a citizen of Albuquerque in his personal vehicle that was outfitted with lights, sirens, and radio bought off the internet. APD and BCSO Officers determined he did not work for any police department and was placed under arrest.

Wysynski is being charged with impersonating a peace officer. His trial is later this month.

If you are not sure the person pulling you over is a law enforcement officer, call 911 or pull into a very public parking area and ask to speak to a supervisor.

Some people who pretend to be cops in this manner are rapists or robbers, but there's a pattern of narcissistic people doing it for kicks. One man took it to Philip K. Read the rest

Woman keys a Tesla, but the Tesla's watching

Meet Maria Elena Gimeno, facing felony charges after vandalizing a parked Tesla. Teslas have cameras on the wing mirrors (two of nine!) and Gimeno was filmed by them. She turned herself in after the footage went viral.

The crime took place in the parking lot of Legacy High School on Saturday morning while Alan Tweedie was watching his daughter’s nearby soccer game. When Tweedie found his Tesla was damaged, he told CBS4 he’d try out a new feature on the vehicle. He looked back through the video captured by the car’s nine motion-activated cameras and eventually spotted a woman using a key to scratch the side of his car.

No word on why she did it. The obvious and fun assumption is "inchoate hatred for electronic vehicles", but it was at a school ball game, so acts of inane violence and retribution are to be expected.

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Halloween mask of Sloth from The Goonies deemed inaccurate

Trumpetcake spotted a remarkable item on Amazon being sold as "The Goonies Sloth Mask", perfect for Halloween. The sole customer review awards it 5 stars, but people on Twitter seem unimpressed with its versimilitude.

P.S. You can buy Babe Ruth bars on Amazon by the crate. Read the rest

Trump gives Turkey blessing to attack Kurds, U.S. allies in war on ISIS

In a late-night press release, the White House announced that Turkey "will soon be moving forward" with an invasion of northern Syria—areas currently occupied by Kurds.

Mr. Trump’s decision goes against the recommendations of top officials in the Pentagon and the State Department who have sought to keep a small troop presence in northeast Syria to continue operations against the Islamic State, or ISIS, and to act as a critical counterweight to Iran and Russia. Administration officials said that Mr. Trump spoke directly with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on the issue on Sunday. And the officials indicated that the 100 to 150 United States military personnel deployed to that area would be pulled back in advance of any Turkish operation but that they would not be completely withdrawn from Syria.

The Kurds were key allies in the war on ISIS, and Trump is fully aware that withdrawing U.S. support for them could mean ethnic cleansing by the Turks, because he's boasted of stopping it in the past by not withdrawing.

On Monday a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - who occupy former IS territory in north-eastern Syria - strongly condemned the US move.

"There were assurances from the United States of America that it would not allow any Turkish military operations against the region," Kino Gabriel told Arabic TV station al-Hadath.

He added: "The (US) statement was a surprise and we can say that it is a stab in the back for the SDF."

Erdogan told Trump to do it, so he did it. Read the rest

Steampunk nearly went mainstream, then nearly vanished

John Brownlee traces the rise and fall of steampunk, a genre and aesthetic I know is close to many hearts 'round these parts. (Some of my own thoughts on the matter are quoted.) The arrival of smartphones was a key moment, he writes, putting technology permanently within reach -- and beyond it.

Divorced of their gear-cog trappings, the best parts of steampunk live on as a wide-scale design and political movement known as Right to Repair. This movement, which is picking up steam among state legislatures (and vehemently opposed by major tech companies like Apple), is ostensibly about combating forced obsolescence and breaking the modern consumer electronic upgrade cycle, through legislation that forces companies to make their products repairable by the end user. In other words, it’s about empowerment and transparency: the right to understand the technology you depend upon.

From that perspective, steampunk never died at all. It just lost the “Jules Verne goth” aesthetic and went mainstream.

Read the rest

Florida judge jails man for missing jury duty

Deandre Somerville, 21, of West Palm Beach, overslept and missed jury duty. Florida judge John S. Kastrenekes threw him in jail for 10 days.

"Now I have a record," he told local media. "I almost feel like a criminal now. Now, I have to explain this in every interview."

Somerville was to be one of six jurors, and it was his first time serving on a jury. He told local media he slept though his alarm and woke up hours later, realising he had missed the trial.

Kastrenakes also demanded a letter of apology, and went as far as to say how much of his time Somerville wasted: "almost an hour." After the media noticed, Kastrenakes reduced the sentence -- but Somerville had already served his 10 days.

It's not the first time a questionable decision has made the case about Judge Kastrenakes. He threatened a highway patrol trooper who gave him a ticket and ended up disqualified from a case involving another patrolman because of what he said to her.

Kastrenakes called trooper Sandra Thompson a “liar” during the 12:30 a.m. traffic stop and said the tickets she wrote him would color his opinion of troopers in court, the highway patrol didn’t make a report of the incident until five months later.

Even so, Kastrenakes this morning granted prosecutors’ motion for disqualification, stating “the public must have the perception of judicial fairness.”

“At the time, I was upset about receiving a ticket which seemed to me to be unjustified by the circumstances,” Kastrenakes wrote in his order, filed separately this morning in each of seven cases made by the FHP.

Read the rest

Shingy talks about the real job behind the "Digital Prophet" bullshit

As AOL's anime-haired "Digital Prophet", David Shing was often portrayed as a blatant poser, a voltron of web 2.0 buzzwords with a tellingly quiet social media following. But he was also a marketing director there. The excesses of the "Shingy" persona, with its silly TED talks and news appearances, dressed up a "fairly standard job" of running interference with advertisers.

New York Magazine:

Did the idea that anything you do can be taken out of context freak you out? Did you start second-guessing yourself?

I definitely was cautious about it because when you get trolled several times, you’re kind of like, “I’m good. I’ll just put my head down and keep working and doing the work I need to do,” which is not to be invisible.

Hundreds of meetings a year. I especially appreciate that "Digital Prophet" intentionally mocked the anodyne creepiness of the term Google and Facebook were using for the equivalent role—"Evangelist"—and feel rather like I should have noticed that at the time. He's absolutely a corporate talker of the marketing tribe, but what he was saying on stage (or to New Yorker profilers) was not what he was saying behind closed doors.

What does Verizon get out of [AOL]?

Incredible ad tech

He has a 2-year-old and the 2-year-old is "screen-free." Read the rest

Women arrested after complaining to police that hitman ripped them off

El Pais reports that a mother and her daughter were arrested after hiring a man to kill a swindler, then complaining to police when he failed to do the job.

To be able to start working on the operation and locate the target, the fake spy requested a kind of deposit, of €7,000. This, he claimed, was the money needed to pay his informants and locate hitmen who could carry out the operation. But time passed, and the hit did not take place.

The fake hitman was also arrested and charged. The alleged swindler was finally found—to ensure he lives—and may finally face charges of his own in what Spanish police have named "Operation Kafka."

Photo:Shutterstock Read the rest

Rotting Leonardo suit from 1990s Ninja Turtles movie fails to sell at auction

Sadly, it appears that the decomposed latex Leonardo suit from 1993's TMNT III failed to sell at its auction earlier this week, despite the low low estimate of £10,000-£15,000. Read the rest

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