Trump Administration moving forward on tent cities for kids

Tent cities for migrant children separated from their parents at the border? Sure, why not.

According to USA Today, the Department of Health and Human Services will be paying a visit to Fort Bliss Army base, just outside of El Paso, Texas to see if it would be a suitable location to set up a tent city designed to house between 1,000 and 5,000 migrant kids. According to the report, HHS officials are also eyeing Air Force bases in San Angelo and Abilene for the task.

So, tent cities built by the homeless are deemed illegal and get torn down by the government, but when the government wants to build one, it’s totally cool. Got it.

From USA Today:

The Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS is responsible for looking after more than 11,200 migrant children being held without a parent or guardian. Some 100 existing shelters, however, are now 95% full.

The number of migrant children held in U.S. government custody without their parents has increased more than 20% as a result of a new "zero-tolerance" policy by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. That policy directs the Border Patrol to refer all people caught crossing the border illegally for criminal prosecution, regardless of their situation.

Because of the Trump Administration’s no-exceptions policy on illegal immigration, enough children to entertain the notion of opening a tent city to contain them all have been ripped from their families over the past few months, while adults, whose only crime was to come to America looking for a better life, you know, like many of our ancestors did, are being locked away in federal prisons while awaiting deportation hearings. Read the rest

Italy gives boot to 629 desperate migrants

This past weekend, a woefully overloaded rescue ship operated by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières made its way across the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Europe, looking for a safe port in Italy. Many of the 629 migrants on board of the ship, all of which were fleeing the horrors of war in Syria and Libya and the exploitation that displaced individuals often endure in Africa.

Among the 629 passengers are 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 kids who made the crossing with family members and seven pregnant women. Some of the ship's passengers are said to be injured from beatings and torture endured in the home countries. By Sunday, there were only enough provisions to feed those on board for another 48 hours. Italy’s response to the vessel’s request to dock in the country?

Nah, fuck those guys.

According to the Globe and Mail, Italy’s newly elected populist government acted in a manner that may be familiar to those under the yoke of a populist government here in North America. In a xenophobic fervor, instead of rendering aid or shelter to a group of people who were in woeful need of it, they turned them away. Matteo Salvini, the governing party’s deputy prime minister and minister of the interior, gave the order to keep the boat-borne individuals from stepping foot on his country’s shores.

From the Globe & Mail:

Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, and the Libyan civil war three years later, Italy has absorbed more than 600,000 undocumented or illegal migrants, most of whom arrived by sea from North Africa.

Read the rest

Spanish football app turns users into unwitting surveillance operatives

Spain's got a stiffy for football, or soccer, if you must.

When a football match is on, just about everyone in the country loses their minds. TVs are gathered round, siestas are forgone, and team songs, in any bar you chance, will be full of scarf-swinging loons banging on tables and screaming for every goal. It’s loud, chaotic and lovely. For many Spaniards, catching a game while on the go involves downloading a smartphone app fronted by Spain’s national football league, Liga de Fútbol Profesional. Available for iOS and Android handsets, the La Liga app is not only licensed to stream football games, but also lets users keep track of the stats for their favorite teams and players.

Oh, it also tracks your every move and taps your smartphone's microphone, supposedly in the name of helping to root out unauthorized match broadcasts in bars, restaurants and cafes.

From El Dario, via Google Translate:

The Liga de Fútbol Profesional, the body that runs the most important sports competition in Spain, is using mobile phones of football fans to spy on bars and other public establishments that put matches for their clients. Millions of people in Spain have this application on their phone, which accumulates more than 10 million downloads, according to data from Google and Apple.

All of these people can become undercover informants for La Liga and the owners of football television broadcasting rights. If they give their consent for the app to use the device's microphone (which is common in many applications), they are actually giving permission for La Liga to remotely activate the phone's microphone and try to detect if what it sounds like is a bar or public establishment where a football match is being projected without paying the fee established by the chains that own the broadcasting rights.

Read the rest

John Oliver updates us on the current state of the Mueller Investigation

It's been a year since the Mueller investigation began and the Trump administration and its goons have been working harder to derail it than they have on pretty much anything else, aside from creating massive divides in the American people. I've gotta say, things are looking a bit dark. Read the rest

Weekend Tunes: Iggy & The Stooges - The Passenger

Be seeing you, Anthony. Read the rest

I owe Anthony Bourdain so much

I’ve always felt the urge to leave. Any place. No matter how beautiful. I want to go. When I was 18 and finished with high school, I attended my graduation ceremony, for the sake of my family, but I skipped my prom – Canada’s east coast was calling. I’d never been there before. I didn’t know what I’d find. But I was going. I made a life for myself out there, with university, work and music. I traveled up and down the coast. Cape Breton feels like a second home to me. I love the people of Maine. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have a place in my heart.

But eventually, I left the east. Rage, the self-entitlement that sometimes comes from surviving a shitty childhood and a need for control left me very much out of control. I destroyed a fine long-term relationship looking for who I was. I burned bridges. I did terrible things to myself and others. It was time to move on. My travels took me back home to Ontario. My father was dying. I loved and hated him for who he was and what he had done to our family. Coming home was a terror.

Uneasily settled back into my hometown, I fought to push the dogs of my recent past down into the cellar of my soul where their bark did not seem so loud. I’d gone to university for journalism, but felt too shattered by life to write. I took on a job I despised and worked it for years. Read the rest

I'm a big fan of this inexpensive little fan

I was recently asked by USA Today's technology site, Reviewed.com, to sort out a feature on the best rechargeable batteries. I called in a ton of the things, in a number of sizes, and got down to testing. One of the tests that I decided to run was to pop the various AA cells I had on hand, by brand, into a battery-powered fan to see how long they could run the thing for. I opted to order the least expensive fans I could find that I felt, based on my past experience testing fans (if you work as a hardware journalist for long enough, sooner or later, you'll have tested damn near everything), wouldn't crap out on me after running for a few hours: the Honeywell HTF090B Turbo on the Go Personal Fan. In order to cut down on the amount of time it'd take me to run the tests I needed to conduct, I ordered four of them.

To my surprise, I fell in love with an $11 piece of hardware.

This little Honeywell fan can be run off of a USB connection, making it a great choice for using at your desk, or four AA batteries. When running the fan on rechargeable battery power, I was able to get a maximum run time of close to 10 hours. Not bad! It's light and compact enough that you could stick it in a carry-on bag to take with you traveling or toss it in the back of a car to keep you cool during a bit of tent camping on a weekend. Read the rest

Passing plane pummels people with poop

My nation, Canada, is a land of endless bounty. Yesterday, it provided us with a feral peacock infestation. Today? A case of pinkeye allegedly caused by poo raining down from the sky.

Susan Allen of Kelowna, BC (it’s absolutely lovely in the summertime – you should visit!) was driving home with her son after enjoying a pleasant lunch with her mother in the lakeside district of Peachland. It was a beautiful day, spent in a beautiful place. On the way home, Allen opened her car’s sunroof to enjoy a bit of fresh air and, apparently, got hammered by shit falling from the sky.

From the The Star:

The feces appeared to have fallen from a plane that she saw when they were stopped at a red light with another car that was also hit, Allan said, adding she and the other driver went to a car wash and sprayed themselves off before she called the Kelowna airport.

She said an administrator told her Transport Canada would be investigating and the department has confirmed it is looking into the possibility of frozen lavatory waste, called “blue ice,” falling from an aircraft.

But wait, there’s more! As a result of her forced fecal frolics, Allen ended up with conjunctivitis in both of her eyes – that’s pinkeye y’all – and had to be placed on a run of medication to deal with the affliction.

While talking to the press about her shitty weekend, Allen stated that “All we want people to know is that it was quite devastating to be covered in poop and I hope it never happens to anybody else.”

Transport Canada is investigating the incident. Read the rest

Adam Savage brings the mayhem with a 1,000-shot Nerf gun mod

You know what's better than a Nerf blaster that can whip out 100 rounds of fun in rapid succession? One that can handle 1,000 rounds! In his latest One Day Build for Tested, Adam Savage shows you how to build the Nerf gun of the Apocalypse. With the right tools and materials, you can do it too. Read the rest

The boy's club that is the U.N. General Assembly has chosen a woman to lead them

The United Nations General Assembly has a new President: Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces. Every year, the U.N. votes to choose a new ramrod for its General Assembly. Potential candidates for the position are chosen, partially, based on a regional rotation. This time around, the U.N. was looking for someone from Latin America or the Caribbean. As such, Espinosa Garces stepped up to the plate and whacked it right out of the park: of the 192 nations voting on the matter, 128 gave the thumbs up to her taking the position.

As Yahoo News points out, the position of President in the General Assembly is largely ceremonial, especially given that a large percentage of what the General Assembly does is create non-binding resolutions. But still, a win is a win, and the newly-minted President Espinosa Garces is definitely a winner.

In her home nation of Ecuador, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces is a frigging HUGE political noise. She worked as the nation’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Integration from January 2007 to December 2007, before moving on to a new position as Special Adviser to the President of the Constituent Assembly, Alberto Acosta, from December 2007 to February 2008, before moving on, in October 2009, to become Ecuador’s Coordinating Minister of Heritage – a post she held until 2012. In November of that same year, Espinosa Garces was called upon to become the country’s Minister of National Defense. In October 2014, she was named Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations in Geneva. Read the rest

Feral Peacocks terrorize Canadian neighborhood

You’ve likely heard of Vancouver, British Columbia. Surrey? Maybe not: it’s a city in its own right and a part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Surrey’s got an unfortunate reputation for crime due largely to occasional targeted daytime gang hits and the omnipresent narcotics trade. I lived across the bridge from Surrey for close to a decade. I always felt safe there and enjoyed the food, culture and good times that Surrey had to offer.

But now that I know that it’s infested with feral peacocks, I may not be back.

According to the CBC, Surrey city officials believe that Surrey residents living between 150 Street and 62 Avenue are being forced to cope with the presence of between 40 and 150 feral peacocks roaming the streets. Yeah, peacocks are gorgeous when seen in a zoo and hilarious when used as an alarm system by Hunter S. Thompson. But for a bunch of renters and homeowners who just want to live their lives with a minimal amount of bullshit, they’re sort of a nightmare. Peacocks are loud, aggressive and, like most large birds, leave massive amounts of greasy shit everywhere they go. The problem with the birds has gotten so bad that some residents have started taking matters into their own hands.

Shit has gone down, friends.

This past May, in a fit of peacock-induced rage, a man cut down a tree where an ostentation of dozens of the birds had decided to nest, every night. There was just one problem: BC’s kinda touchy about preserving nature. Read the rest

Nick Cave narrates The Cat Piano and it's, predictably, both horrific and sublime

In this 2009 short film, Nick Cave plays the part of a writer, who resides in a city populated entirely by cats. Yep, that's weird, but it's Nick Cave, so it works.

When a madman starts snatching up the city's most musical residents, including Cave's muse, to give voice to his own dark symphony, Cave-Cat leads the rescue mission to bring the kidnapped kitties back home.

Named for an insidious musical instrument that dates back to the 1500s, The Cat Piano is just under nine minutes long. Watch it on your coffee break, or as part of your daily procrastination routine. It's got a cat that looks like Nick Cave! This alone makes the film more than worthwhile. Read the rest

Owning a pet raccoon sounds like an exhausting pain in the ass

Even if you live in an area where keeping a raccoon as a pet is totally cool,  a raccoon is a wild animal that shouldn't be kept as a pet. They've got needs, habits and instincts which, even if you were to raise it from a kit, you won't be able to rid it of. Still interested in claiming one of the fuzzy buggers as your own? Then you'll want to watch this video of this gent who, after a year of raccoon ownership, has a solid, informed opinion on whether a raccoon makes a good pet.

  Read the rest

Rot the eyes right out of your head with this collection of 60 free Film Noir classics

I've been hooked on hard-boiled crime novels and Film Noir since I picked up my first copy (there have been many) of Dashiel Hammett's Red Harvest back in the mid-1990s. It's bleak, entertaining stuff that I find to be a hell of a lot more honest in its portrayal of human desperation, motivation, rage and lust than most of the drivel that's spoon-fed to us in films, television and a whole lot of books these days.

My personal tastes lean towards stories where the bad guy, or at least, a pretty lousy guy, wins. Richard Stark's (a pen name of the late, great Donald E. Westlake) Parker series, anything written by Lawrence Block or Raymond Chandler, and movies like The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye or more recently, The Drop scratch my need for fatalistic media. Despite their being a glut of crime and detective films out there, set in the city, country or even the future (I'm looking at you, Looper), finding new books to read or movies to veg out to can be a daunting task. Fortunately, the good people at Open Culture have made the latter a whole lot easier.

Open Culture's curated a fine collection of 60 Film Noir gems that are free to watch online, and in some cases, free to download. I won't lie to you, there's a number of stinkers in the movies that they've included on their list, but even a bad film can be worth watching. If nothing else, it'll make you appreciate a good movie that much more. Read the rest

This man is swimming across the Pacific Ocean to raise awareness about plastic pollution

Some people are more committed to a cause than others. Ben Lecomte? He’s one of those. In an effort to highlight the stunning amount of damage humanity is doing to the world’s oceans and generate awareness about plastic pollution, the 50-year old adventurer plans on swimming through 1,600km of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Lecomte started his swim this morning in Japan. Provided everything goes according to plan, he’ll finish his aquatic ramblings in 180 days, in San Fransisco. This isn’t his first open water rodeo: according to The Guardian, Lecomte swam across the whole damn Atlantic Ocean back in 1998.

From The Guardian:

The Great Pacific garbage patch, according to the latest March estimate, is twice the size of France and contains nearly 80,000 tonnes of plastic.

Also known as the Pacific trash vortex, the patch is caused by the North Pacific gyre – a circle of currents that keep plastic, waste and other pollution trapped.

According to scientists, the patch has been growing “exponentially” in recent years. The March estimate found it was 16 times larger than previously expected.

As Lecomte makes his way through the garbage patch, he and his support team plan on taking water samples and catching fish to test for plastic pollutants and illustrate how plastics have been infiltrating the food chain. This might sound like a a goofy publicity stunt, but if you take a peek at the endeavor's website, you'll see that Lecomte's efforts have the support of some big scientific guns, including NASA, CMER, the Argonne National Labratory and the University of Montana, just to name a few. Read the rest

Report: almost 25% of Tesla Motors Model 3 pre-orders have been refunded

Well, this should soften Elon Musk’s opinions about journalism: According to Engadget, Musk’s electric car-making baby, Tesla Motors, has had to return almost one quarter of the pre-order money it received from its American customers for the company’s delayed Tesla Model 3.

From Engadget:

Tesla raked in hundreds of thousands of pre-orders for its Model 3 after it unveiled the vehicle in 2016, but a report from analytics firm Second Measure shows that a good chunk of US pre-orders have since been refunded. As of April, the company's analysis shows that 23 percent of those who placed a pre-order in the US have had their $1,000 deposit refunded. A Tesla spokesperson told Recode that Second Measure's findings didn't match the automaker's own numbers, but declined to say by how much they were off. However, last August, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that 12 percent of reservations had been cancelled at the time – data that aligned with Second Measure's analysis.

Engadget’s Mallory Locklear reckons that the rampant production delays associated with the Model 3’s production are a viable culprit for the refund requests. That said, buying any new car, let alone a premium ride like the ones that Tesla offers, is an expensive undertaking. A person’s fortunes can turn pretty quickly within the space of a few months. Having the money to be able plunk down a grand to reserve the right to purchase a new car back then doesn’t translate into being flush enough to seal the deal now. Read the rest

Casual badassery abounds in this amazing skiing video

No big deal, just a short video of just some dude sliding down the side of a mountain, hydroplaning over glacial waters and then backflipping onto a chunk of ice.

Please, continue with your day. Read the rest

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