• A Pulitzer Prize-winning nation security reporter explains why Magneto was right

    In Grant Morrison's 2003 X-Men storyline Riot at Xavier's, an angry adolescent mutant named Quentin Quire rallies a few other outcasts and foments a student-led revolution at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Morrison used the story to riff on teenage rebellion, and specifically pokes fun at the Che Guevara t-shirt trend by depicting Quire in a t-shirt emblazoned with the visage of OG X-Men arch-nemesis, Magneto.

    I myself bought one of these Magneto Was Right t-shirts in my late teens, because it was both nerdy, and provocative, which has pretty much always been my aesthetic. In other words, I wasn't thinking very hard about the actual message or political implications; it just filled that perfect niche of nihilistic irony.

    As an adult, I can assure you I have thought about it: Magneto was right. But no one has ever articulated why as well as Spencer Ackerman, senior national security correspondent for The Daily Beast as well as the author of the upcoming book Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump. Ackerman was also part of the team at The Guardian that received a Pulitzer for public service journalism for reporting on the Snowden revelations. So he's clearly someone who understands the long arc of history, conflict, and geopolitics.

    Ackerman explains his reasoning on Magneto's rightness on episode of the podcast Cerebro. Hosted by Connor Goldsmith, each longform episode focuses on a different X-Men character — and just in time for this past Hanukkah, he had Ackerman on to dive into the radical Jewishness of the man once known as Max Eisenhardt and Erik Lensherr but most commonly called Magneto.

    It's a fascinating — if sprawling — conversation that covers both the diagetic history of Magneto, as well as the sociopolitical implications around his changing character throughout the years. Magneto wasn't always canonically Jewish, but Ackerman and Goldsmith discuss how the character's history as a Holocaust survivor shapes his story. In both the comics and the podcast, this ties into the Roma experience as well, and Ackerman acutely examines the differences in each of those survivor experiences, through the lens of Magneto. The podcast also articulately touches on issues relating to Zionism and colonialism, as it relates to the current X-Men storyline which began with a scene set in Jerusalem and features the X-Men building an independent island nation with its own language as a home for all mutants (including his recent visit to Davos).

    Through it all, Ackerman makes clear: Magneto was right (although he is certainly not above criticism, and has made many mistakes that he owns). In the global theatre of war, there are certain marginalized groups who will always be hated and hunted by those in power. Assimilation is presented as the path of least resistance by those like Charles Xavier, but it can never truly erase the threat. But perhaps more importantly is that Magneto has demonstrated a capacity for change, without ever losing sight of his convictions, and his steadfast defense of his people, whom he hopes to never see suffer again.

    He also does a really great impression of Magneto as Bernie Sanders.

    Ackerman is also a guest on the Cerebro podcast episode on Hank McCoy, also known as Beast, which takes a similarly political perspective and examines Beast's role as the perpetual outside who nonetheless perpetually aspires to neoliberal assimilationism, and how this causes all his problems. (There are lots of other great episodes, too, but I realize that not everyone is interested in a 3 hour discussion on the convoluted queerness of Stryfe.)

    Cerebro Podcast

    Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump [Spencer Ackerman]

    Image via YouTube

  • Tentacled beast on the loose in New York Botanical Garden

    Sometimes pretty, sometimes a thing that escaped one of your nightmares, but always striking is the art of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Her extravagant works have invaded New York Botanical Garden including the yellow with black dots monster that looks like it's lumbering down the sidewalk whimsically looking for human prey. It's called Dancing Pumpkin. Also featured are playful flower sculptures, her very popular infinity room as well as Narcissus Garden which has1,400 stainless steel spheres—each nearly 12 inches in diameter—floating in a large pond.

  • Ditch .com. Get a .tech web extension instead and save 80 percent on your new digital home.

    You're ready to take over the world with your new project Killer Computers. No, your computers don't actually kill anyone. It's just the name of your new online retail computer brand. 

    Of course, your company needs a website. Unfortunately, getting the rights to the web address killercomputers.com is impossible. Now, nobody ever actually built a killercomputers.com website before, but somebody did buy that domain name 17 years ago. You could try to buy it from them. But even if they wanted to sell, it would likely cost you at least a couple hundred, maybe even a few thousand dollars to own it yourself.

    Thankfully, .com domain extensions aren't the only game in town anymore. In fact, especially for tech-savvy projects and brands, a new .tech web address is now available — and FWIW, killercomputers.tech is absolutely available.

    You can plant your digital flag in that wide-open .tech real estate with your very own .tech domain name, now available at 80 percent off its regular 1-year and 5-year prices. That means you could lock up an online home like killercomputer.tech for as low as only $4.99 for 12 months.

    .Tech is just one of the many web extensions opened up in the past decade, allowing site owners more customization and specialization options for helping web searchers better find their goods, services, or experiences online. You get to avoid a long, awkward, or even vague web address in the .com realm with a short, meaningful, memorable domain name with global appeal in an inherently branded .tech space.

    From retailers or entrepreneurs looking to launch a new project to a programming student just looking to get his coding portfolio online, that .tech extension offers an instantly relatable place in the tech community, all with a streamlined address that will absolutely help spur better web traffic and search engine results.

    The .tech name also puts you in good company, with over 332,000 fellow .tech developers, including huge international brands like media giant Viacom (viacom.tech) or the world's largest annual tech extravaganza, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (ces.tech).

    Head over to the get.tech website now, search for your name of choice, and use the code TECHNOW to lock in your .tech domain name for 80 percent off the regular price.

    Prices are subject to change.

  • Trans woman adopts 8 orphaned children after being abandoned herself at age five

    Manisha, a trans woman in Pakhanjur, Chhattisgarh, India, has adopted eight children – seven girls, one boy. Despite struggling to make ends meet, Manisha is determined to provide them with the loving home she herself didn't have as a child.

    From Pink News:

    "I can understand the pain of not being loved and cared for. So, whenever I come across an orphan, I take that child home with me," she told Gaon Connection.

    Manish was the target of much discrimination and bullying as a child. Even her parents would lock her indoors as to not "malign" their honor. When Manisha was five years old, her parents abandoned her. She was taken in by another trans woman, and now shares her motherly love with her children.

    "My mother and father abandoned me at a very young age," she said. "I had a tough childhood and I spent many days without food. I vowed to myself that when I grew up, I would take care of other children who did not have a family."

    "I never had my mother's love, or my father's. I don't remember getting any affection from them," she told Brut.

    "There are kids like this abandoned, kicked out of their homes. Some talk about killing their child. The way I have been hurt, if I see an orphan or a child that has been abandoned, I will be a mother for them and raise them."

    Manisha earns a living by singing and dancing at weddings and births, a traditional occupation for trans people in Indian culture. Her ultimate goal is to open an orphanage of her own and offer love, care, and safety to children who would otherwise be abandoned.

  • Get 2 years of VPN protection with Private Internet Access for more than 70% off

    In the world of VPN services, there are dozens of little fish providers swimming in every direction with names and features changing almost daily. Then…there are the VPN whales. With over 30 million downloads, more than a decade of operation, and with a mantlepiece full of industry hardware, Private Internet Access definitely fits the role of a VPN colossus.

    Launched back in 2009, PIA has been one of the most trusted names in online protection for most of that time, earning distinctions like a PC Mag Editor's Choice, a spot on CNET's Best VPN Services of 2021 list, and a cumulative 4.6 out of 5-star rating from more than 100,000 reviews in both the Apple App Store and Google Play. In VPN, it doesn't get much more heritage than PIA.

    Despite that standing, Private Internet Access hasn't been sleeping on its laurels, continuing to offer new features and a widening net of availability to keep users both protected and optimized as they trek across the web.

    That elite reach starts with PIA's incredibly vast server network, including over 35,500 servers in 100 locations in more than 77 countries worldwide. That variety of login options allows users to cloak their online activity while appearing to be from virtually anywhere, offering security against anyone looking to lock on to your IP address or use those details to mine information or put your sensitive web activities at risk. Powerful Blowfish CBC encryption keeps data secure, while unlimited bandwidth ensures your browsing speed remains lightning fast.

    That wide-ranging network also makes it easy to bypass censored or geographically blocked websites, apps, or streaming services so you can watch whatever you want from wherever you are.

    As for those new abilities, PIA is sporting an improved MACE feature, which blocks ads, trackers, and malware. And unlike lesser services that only cover 1, 2, or up to 5 devices, a PIA subscription also stretches beyond, covering up to 10 devices simultaneously, all with unlimited bandwidth.

    Right now, a 2-year subscription to Private Internet Access VPN services is a $258 value, but with the current deal, users only pay less than $35 a year, or just $69.95.

    Prices subject to change.

  • Get your home theater ready for summer movies with up to 64% off these gadgets

    Did ya see Godzilla vs. Kong last week? With April upon us, the start of the traditional summer movie blockbuster season is here, but this is going to be unlike any movie season we've ever seen before.

    While some films will be exclusive to theaters, a handful of the biggest releases of the summer will also be debuting on streaming services at home, including heavyweights like Cruella, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In the Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, and yes, Marvel's Black Widow.

    With that kind of firepower coming to your home screen, you better have the home theater to match. Right now, check out these deals with savings up to 64 percent on 18 home projectors, sound systems, and other accessories to make your home viewing experience every ounce as awesome as the multiplex.

    Starter projectors

    Ultra HD 1080P Wireless Intelligent Home Projector – $79.95; originally $199

    If you're looking to make the switch from a giant TV to a projection unit, here's a great place to start. Connect it to your phone via Wi-Fi or plug in an HDMI cable, and this projector will cast a large 200-inch image in gorgeous 1080p resolution.

    Minolta MN673 Mini LCD Projector – $99.99; originally $149

    At just 8 inches across, you can stash this mini projector almost anywhere all but unseen — until it's time to cast a 120-inch high-quality image onto any surface, that is. This projector has loads of versatility, connecting via HDMI, USB, or even MicroSD inputs.

    AAXA projectors

    AAXA BP1 100-Lumen nHD Speaker Projector – $143.99; originally $164

    Both of these AAXA projectors fit in the palm of your hand. It only depends on the level of projection power you need. The BP1 throws a 100-lumen light, projecting up to a 60-inch image, as this premium DLP projector packs in a Bluetooth speaker that produces 12 watts of room-filling sound with up to 24 hours of battery life.

    AAXA P7 600-Lumen Full HD DLP Pico Projector – $377.99; originally $399

    Meanwhile, the P7 delivers true native 1080p resolution from a bright 600 Lumen bulb and a 120-inch projected image. And with Bluetooth connectivity, you're also equipped for direct mirroring from most USB-C compatible devices like smartphones.

    Projectors under $200

    60,000 Lumen Mini Wi-Fi Multi-Port Projector – $199.95; originally $299

    Adjust your image from just 30 inches across all the way up to 150 inches — and this projector makes it simple. Multi-port connections make it easy to connect your phone, tablet, or laptop — and it's even got a built-in stereo speaker to handle all of your audio needs.

    Vankyo Performance V600 1080P LED Projector – $199.99

    The V600 has a contrast ratio of 5000:1, delivering 3 times the detail and precision of a 720p projector. At 80 percent brighter than competing projectors and a display capability up to 300 inches, the lamp in the V600 is also built to last, rated for over 10 years of daily service.

    Prima 1080p HD Pocket Projector – $199 after code PRIMA; originally $799

    Portable, slim, and no bigger than an iPhone, this Prima projector has 4 times the brightness of other portables. With 1080p HD images cast up to 200 inches across, this pocket unit brings movie night wherever you go. 

    Use the code PRIMA during checkout to take $200 off the price of the Prima projector.

    Premium projectors

    PIQO Powerful 1080p Mini Projector – $279.99; originally $799

    TechWalls called the PIQO "too good to ignore" — and with 1080p resolution at up to 240 inches across, you'll likely agree. With both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, the PIQO can cast virtually anything from almost any of your devices onto any surface. It also serves up to 5 hours of viewing time on a single charge.

    4K HD DLP Pocket Projector – $299.99; originally $499

    They don't call this a pocket cinema for nothing — it really does fit in your pocket. All you do is connect this projector via Bluetooth or MiraCast Mirror Display to your phone and you're ready to roll video of up to 4K quality — even 3D images — onto your screen up to 120 inches across.

    Cinemood 360 Bundle: First Interactive Projector with 360 Motion Capability – $399; originally $499

    The Cinemood 360 isn't just the first 360-degree capable interactive projector. It was also built with the family in mind. No plugs, cables, or cords, this handheld projector is ready for kids to play immersive, interactive motion and learning games through its built-in access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, Youtube, AmebaTV, and more.

    Antennas

    Rveal Digital Indoor HDTV Antenna – $19.99; originally $29

    Ditch cable forever with this indoor HD antenna that can bring in all your local channels in seconds. Super-thin with extended range and easy set-up, this antenna will make it simple to cut the cord on your monthly cable bill forever.

    Monster Aegis 80: Indoor/Outdoor Full HD TV Antenna – $49.99; originally $79

    The Monster Aegis is every bit the monster it claims to be, unfurling a range of 80 miles. For viewers in rural or urban areas alike, the built-in ClearSignal technology sharpens the picture by reducing grain and amplifying signal quality for the best possible image. It's also built to work through severe weather conditions as well.

    TV mounts

    Monster Flat TV Mount – $19.99; originally $34

    If you're sticking with a TV, at least get it up off the coffee table. Monster makes a variety of wall mounts for that true cinema-esque feeling. You can go with the flat-mount for TV from 32 to 60 inches or step up to the tilt mount for screens up to 75 inches (on sale for $34.99) with up to 8 degrees of tilt for optimal viewing.

    Universal Flat-Panel TV Articulating Wall Mount – $59.99; originally $70

    In case you need an even more extreme bend on your monitor to get a good look, this articulated wall mount folds almost flat but swings out to spin your monitor into nearly any viewing position you need. VESA-compliant and constructed from quality materials, it also brings peace of mind for those who fear a TV mounting malfunction.

    Streaming accessories

    Tunai Wand Bluetooth Transmitter for TV – $49.99; originally $59

    Wouldn't it be great if all your devices were Bluetooth devices? The Wand makes it happen, auto-pairing your TV, game console, home stereo, or other tech to function like Bluetooth devices. With dual aptX, there's no audio lag, so now, you can watch TV while listening to your earphones seamlessly.

    Sound systems

    Pioneer PSP-C22 Andrew Jones Designed Center Channel Speaker – $79.99; originally $149

    Here's how you anchor your entire home theater sound system. This center channel speaker designed by renowned audio engineer Andrew Jones is optimized with superior components and acoustics to serve up clear, tight sound. If you strain to hear dialogue being drowned out by everything else in your audio mix, this premium speaker will clean it all up.

    Klipsch Reference Theater Pack Surround Sound System – $419.99; originally $999

    Clean, natural sound is the calling card of this comprehensive Klipsch system, all packed into a comparatively tiny footprint. The clarity of the Tractrix Horn technology along with the aluminum tweeters is balanced by the down-firing wireless subwoofer designed to fill the room with low frequencies without actually filling the room in size.

    Prices subject to change.

  • The influence of Ian Dury and the Blockheads' "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick"

    On this episode of Songs That Changed Music, Warren looks back at Ian Dury and the Blockheads' massive and unlikely 1979 UK hit, "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick."

    Ian Dury and the Blockheads were always something of an anomaly in the post-punk/New Wave scene of the time. They brought punk energy to their music, and were embraced by that audience, but they also brought impressive musicianship and influences ranging from disco and funk to jazz and theatrical music.

    And, spoiler alert. Regardless of what you might have made of the lyrics, they're actually about Dury's polio walking cane.

    Image: Screengrab

  • With the MowRo robot lawn mower, you'll never have to cut the grass yourself ever again

    Considering the explosion of robotic vacuum cleaners in recent years, is it really much of a surprise that now your front yard is getting into the act as well? If you can set a robo vac on standby to automatically start spinning around your house and gobbling up dirt and grime, it makes sense that the most basic of homeowner chores is going robo as well: mowing the lawn.

    The MowRo RM24 Robot Lawn Mower is just as miraculous a timesaver as it sounds, including a few added features that basically remove almost everything you hate about mowing the lawn the old-fashioned way.

    If you hate that cutting the grass usually eats up most of your Saturday, then the MowRo is just the wonder device you'd hope for. You plot out a perimeter wire to set the boundaries of your lawn area, then MowRo does the rest. 

    Running on your pre-set mowing schedule, MowRo undocks and gets to work when ordered, with its powerful 2,900 RPM motor scooting across your lawn as the razor-sharp blades deliver an optimized cut to just the height you want. Whether you want a nice luscious shag or a tight manicured cut like a green at Augusta National, MowRo can answer the call.

    If you hate the pollution and noise of a lawnmower that lets the entire neighborhood know you're out working, the quiet operation of the MowRo will likely shock you. At a positively sedate 65dB, this mower pumps out a fraction of the noise made by a conventional mower. Plus, the entire unit runs off a 4Ah 28-volt battery, so you don't get any of the engine fumes of old mowers either. Your gas costs will disappear, and it doesn't even need an extension cord — the MowRo slips back into its dock and recharges when power is low.

    And if you're worried about a robot with whirling blades buzzing around your yard, the MowRo is equipped with safety features to stave off any potential accidents. In addition to guard bumpers that surround the MowRo, it also has an automatic backup ability, so the mower reverses on its own if it runs into anything large. It can even run right up to your bare feet with no cause for alarm.

    The MowRo RM24 Robot Lawn Mower can cross one weekend honey-do project off your list forever. Regularly priced at $999, you can save $150 off that price right now and pick one up for only $849.99.

    Prices subject to change.

  • Safeguard your sensitive data with GhostVolt's encryption software

    Worrying about data breaches isn't just for the Amazons and Facebooks of the world. Oh sure, you should be concerned if you're one of the 533 million who had info exposed in the latest Facebook breach. But a bigger worry is what happens if customer information, details that you're responsible for, somehow get exposed to the world?

    Maybe your company's proprietary information isn't quite so proprietary anymore. Or if you're a doctor or medical professional, maybe your patient records are somehow compromised. Beyond the horror and professional embarrassment, that type of breach can expose recordkeepers to potentially career-crippling lawsuits.

    It's tough maintaining a 24/7/365 security perimeter around that type of information, especially in a networked environment where various team members constantly need access to different information.

    GhostVolt Encryption Software is how any individual, business, or organization keeps a lid on just that type of calamity. GhostVolt specializes in secure document storage and rigid compliance while still allowing for collaboration between teams of any size, ranging from giant corporations down to your own unique team of one.

    GhostVolt works on multiple levels, including each individual computer. Using 256-bit AES encryption, GhostVolt locks down every document on that hard drive, securing all personal information, photos, videos, credit card data, or any other private files. Even if your system is ever breached, all your data will be unreadable to hackers and criminals without GhostVolt's decryption keys. Everything is accessible and readable as normal through GhostVolt's easy interface that pretty much like a normal browser.

    Once GhostVolt is up and running, it works on its own. It encrypts all your new files and saves and re-encrypts any changed files all automatically.

    Meanwhile, the business plan extends the GhostVolt web of secrecy over all the terminals in your network. Through GhostVolt's easy interface, one administrator can track everyone's protection needs, allow access to information only to those who need those files or let team members collaborate safely without the worry of creating holes in your protective shield. 

    Right now, a lifetime GhostVolt Encryption solo plan is on sale at over 90 percent off its regular price, only $29.99

    Prices subject to change.

  • Save an extra $22 on this handmade Japanese forged kitchen knife set

    There are plenty of top-notch quality knives and knife sets crafted all over the world, from Germany, France, and the heart of Europe, to plenty of premium craftsmen in the U.S. But there's definitely something about a finely honed blade made from Japanese steel that still absolutely stops knife shoppers dead in their tracks.

    For its combination of style, performance, and time-honored tradition, this handmade 4-piece Japanese knife set could easily become the centerpiece of your kitchen cutlery arsenal, handcrafted with premium materials with some generational Japanese craftsmanship to stand the test of time.

    The collection features three blades, including an 8-inch Gyuto (a Japanese-style chef's knife), a 10-inch serrated bread knife, and a 6-inch Kiritsu Damascus Petty utility knife; as well as a set of kitchen shears.

    The set from Forge to Table was developed by industry professionals and handcrafted by third-generation Japanese bladesmiths, with each knife handcrafted to offer a beautifully balanced, finely honed blade for all users. To measure up to the 100 years of family craftsmanship that goes into this set, the knives are made from Japanese-produced VG10 steel, which is highly prized for its durability as well as how it holds an edge over years of use.

    The cornerstone is the ultra-versatile cooking mainstay, the 8-inch Gyuto. Made from 5 steel layers, this blade is hand-forged, hand-polished, and hand-sharpened for a superior grip from the octagonal rosewood handle without compromising comfort. The blade itself also sports a kurouchi finish, a distinctly Japanese flavor that drives the unique look and performance of the blade.

    Meanwhile, the bread knife has a unique low-profile serration pattern to help it stay sharper longer while reducing tearing on softer bread even as it glides through hearty, crusty rolls. Finally, the utility knife lives up to its name, featuring 67 layers of steel forged into a striking watered pattern as the blade's sword-like performance effortlessly handles chopping and slicing.

    Throw in the 7-in-1 shears that can scissor as well as open bottles, scale fish, crack bones, and more, and this set's value becomes clear. Regularly $284, you can use the codeword SLICE22 during checkout to slice an extra $22 off the already discounted price, bringing your final total for the full set to just $220.

    Prices subject to change.

  • British media struggle to make Prince Philip an object of national mourning

    Royal consort Prince Philip died last week, and UK media immediately dropped normal programming in favour of wall-to-wall Philip content. But the famously irascible 99-year-old is failing to generate mourning at the hoped-for scale, as Queen Mother or Princess Diana once did. TV bosses are instead finding that relatively few cared for the old duke and viewers would rather watch their soaps. The BBC has already cancelled a tranche of scheduled grief porn to avoid further complaints.

    The BBC declined to comment on the number of complaints it had received about its coverage [but] set up a dedicated form on its website after complaints about its coverage. On the form, it said it had received "complaints about too much TV coverage" of the duke's death, and urged viewers to enter their email address to register a complaint.

    The Independent reports that the ratings for Philiparama coverage are simply dire: "BBC and ITV viewing figures plummet amid wall-to-wall royal coverage".

    The earliest available overnight ratings, provided by Barb, saw ITV's Friday night (9 April) audience decline by 60 percent in comparison to one week previously. BBC One suffered a similar, if less dramatic, loss of average viewers. In the wake of the Duke of Edinburgh's death, the BBC pulled the entirety of its programming on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four. It has since set up a dedicated complaints line after being inundated with backlash over the move, which saw the final of MasterChef, along with episodes of EastEnders, The Graham Norton Show and Gardeners World, pulled off air.