• Here's how you get a killer $200 4K Ninja Dragon Alpha Z drone for just $85

    In the past few years, the drone market has swelled with many competitors vying for top positions, but if you do the proper legwork, you can find some killer deals out there. 

    Perfect finds can brilliantly straddle the line between fully loaded birds jammed with high-end features and a price tag that doesn't tear open your wallet. They aren't always easy to find, but they do exist in nifty crafts like the Ninja Dragon Alpha camera drone.

    Any drone packing a 4K camera should already get a shopper's attention if they're thinking about capturing amazing aerial images and video. Not only does the Alpha Z have a stellar wide-angle 4K lens in the front for detailed pictures, but this drone also packs a 720p camera on the bottom. And with the Ninja Dragon app, flyers can stream images from either camera live right back to their app-connected phone or tablet. 

    While picture quality is always a premium feature, the true test of any drone is how well it flies — and the Alpha Z scores high with pilots there as well. Featuring a six-axis gyroscope and a headless design that makes it easier to orient for developing flyers, this four-rotor body, high-strength, durable frame drone has a four-channel control system to raise, lower, advance, retreat, or even flip with ease. 

    It's got a track flight mode to choose the route you want to fly. It also has a gesture feature to snap images with a wave of your hand for perfect aerial selfies. Plus, the Alpha Z features a one-button return function that immediately brings it back home with a single button press.

    And in addition to the formidable flight and image capture abilities, the Ninja Dragon Alpha Z also scores high with your budget right now. Retailing for $199, this craft was already half off with its current discount, but when you use the code ANNUAL15 as part of the Semi-Annual Sale, you can chop another 15 percent off that price, lowering your total to just $84.99

  • Check out 10 deals on training to make you an IT expert or top-notch ethical hacker

    The trick to shopping for web bargains is always knowing the best time to strike. Case in point: this collection of training bundles. They contain everything needed to be a premier IT guru, and they've dropped in price right in the middle of our Semi-Annual Sale. 

    That means in addition to the deals, you can also slice an extra 60 percent off all these training bundles just by using the code ANNUAL60 when you check out. 

    The Complete Oracle Master Class Bundle – $12 after code ANNUAL60; originally $399

    Oracle remains one of the big names in databases and data storage — and this training can turn users into an Oracle know-it-all. Across 17 courses covering more than 180 hours of training, students learn all about Oracle backup and recovery mechanisms, flashback technologies, cloning, and admin duties to troubleshoot and optimize the performance of any Oracle database.

    The Google Cloud Certifications Practice Tests and Courses Bundle – $12 after code ANNUAL60; originally $639

    Every IT pro needs to know how to build and run cloud-based systems — and there aren't many more popular platforms than Google Cloud. This collection includes 7 courses, 43 hours of video instruction and a whopping 1,000 practice questions to not only train up on all of Google's cloud-based offerings, but also pass certification as a knowledgeable Google Cloud Practitioner.

    The 2021 All-In-One AWS, Cisco and CompTIA Super Certification Bundle – $39.60 after code ANNUAL60; originally $4,378

    If you want to be a tech expert, you're gonna have to know at least a little of everything. Meanwhile, the massive 22-course collection is ready to teach you a whole lot about everything. Across more than 240 hours of content, learners will earn the full 411 on buzz-worthy topics like using Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco networking technology, CompTIA certification testing, and a much more.

    The 2021 Complete Microsoft Azure Certification Prep Bundle – $14 after code ANNUAL60; originally $1,194

    There's no cloud platform more on the rise these days than Microsoft Azure, which is why this six-course, 40-plus-hour deep dive into all things Azure could be a career-maker. From basics to more complicated operations like creating your first virtual machine or crafting your own Azure web app, this training guides learners through all the steps needed to get that all-important Microsoft Azure certification.

    The All-In-One 2021 Super-Sized Ethical Hacking Bundle – $17.20 after code ANNUAL60; originally $3,284

    If you understand web security and what it takes to defend vulnerable computer networks from unscrupulous hackers, you can basically write your own ticket in today's job market. This uber-package can lead you to that destiny, featuring 18 courses and more than 130 hours of training in how to become an ethical hacker versed in disciplines like Python, BitNinja, Kali Linux, bug hunting, and more.

    The 2021 Complete CompTIA Certification Prep Super Bundle – $27.60 after code ANNUAL60; originally $4,400

    CompTIA is the certification you want if you really want to work as an information technology specialist — and these 17 courses can help you earn an armload of CompTIA certs. From the omnibus A+ training to the more specialized courses like Cloud+, Network+, Security+, and more, this is expert-led training meant to put you on the fast track to the IT job you want.

    The Complete 2021 CyberSecurity Super Bundle – $28 after code ANNUAL60; originally $7,080

    24 courses. More than 410 hours of training. The sheer scope of this all-around security training is staggering. But with this overview in everything from network security, database security, cloud security, and project management security procedures under your belt, the sky is the limit. With all this knowledge, you can master all the latest techniques and tools to command respect in this highly in-demand skill set.

    The 2021 Complete AWS DevOps Engineer Certification Bundle – $16 after code ANNUAL60; originally $2,200

    You already know AWS is the unquestioned world leader in web-based services. What you might not know is what all that power truly means. Over these 11 courses, you'll be introduced to the basics of using AWS, how to scale and operate apps and other systems using on the platform, and exactly what AWS is the cloud behemoth that it's become.

    The 2021 Cisco CCNA and CCNP Certification Training Bundle – $20 after code ANNUAL60; originally $198

    Of course, none of this tech really matters if all that hardware and software can't talk to each other fluently. That's where Cisco and their industry-leading networking solutions come in. This training features a pair of courses and over 54 hours of training to help students land all-important CCNA and CCNP certifications as true Cisco networking experts.

    Infosec4TC Platinum Membership: Cyber Security Training Lifetime Access – $27.60 after code ANNUAL60; originally $999

    What you don't usually realize about tech is how much you don't know or didn't realize you needed to know until the minute you needed to know it. At moments like that, Infosec4TC training is a godsend, including access to more than 90 different courses with certifications in everything from cybersecurity and ethical hacking to Python, CISA, CISM, and CISSP credentials, and more. Choose what you need to know now and learn at your own pace over a lifetime.

  • Watch this 8mm movie of a circus in Alaska in 1966

    I love looking at photos and videos of old-fashioned carnivals. The whimsical imagery from this 1966 8mm home video (titled "A day at the Alaska Circus" on YouYube) fills me with joy.

    The video features footage of a tightrope walker, clowns goofing around, rides, and other carnival events. The colors in this Kodachrome 8mm film are also sublime and gives the video a surreal feeling.

    Does anyone know which fair or carnival this is?

  • Watch this documentary about a village's sole inhabitant

    Wooden People is a 27-minute documentary that tells the story of Mikalaj, the only person living in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, a small village in Europe's largest forest.

    Belovezhskaya Pushcha was once crowded with people, but they have either moved away or died. I got choked up when I learned that Mikalaj has a difficult time with the solitude of his lifestyle, yet has the most beautiful way of dealing with it.

    Mikalaj has produced hundreds of wooden figures representing every sort of farm work and every phase of human life. His small characters work, love, marry, give birth, divorce, drink, and die. The tiny society has even a nuclear bomb that threatens the very existence of a miniature mankind. That is how Mikalaj lives: working in the fields like his ancestors did, talking with his little men.

    It is stunning to see Mikalaj's creativity and devotion to his wooden world.

  • Watch these interviews with famous culture-jamming pranksters

    Pranks TV! (1988) is a video directed by Leslie Asako Gladsjø.

    The video features 6 interviews which also appear transcribed in the book Pranks! by RE/search publications.

    The book, which I highly recommend, contains 37 interviews with "artists, musicians, writers and unclassifiable individuals who work in a mischievous manner; the editors attempt to venerate, with marginal success, the notion of the prank by placing it in artistic and socially conscious contexts. Most of the pranksters who are profiled work at upsetting the traditional expectations of daily living as a way of forcing people to see the world in a new way. This is, basically, the function of art." (Glen Helfand, San Francisco Sentinel)

    As a mischief-seeking weirdo, Pranks! has been my bible ever since I first opened its pages. The cast includes Joe Coleman, Frank Discussion, Karen Finley, Andrea Juno (interviewer), Boyd Rice, and V. Vale (interviewer).

  • Watch: A little caterpillar wagging its tail like a puppy

    Redditor u/StineItch spotted this little bug making its way across a forest trail in Panama. The bug has been (tentatively) identified as either a puss or asp caterpillar, according to r/whatsthisbug, but regardless of what it is, it's extremely cute.

  • That time Emperor Palpatine took over a Disneyworld dance-off

    From 2008 until 2014 Disneyworld ran Snig and Oopla's Hyperspace Hoopla, a staged dance-off between a number of Star Wars characters as the finale of their Star Wars Weekend.

    Chewbacca would bust moves. They incorporated characters from across the films and animated series.

    At one point in 2013 Palpatine showed up and took the party to the next level.

    I believe that was LEGO Palpatine.

    Hyperspace Hoopla was apparently a fan favorite. The videos are pretty hilarious and fun to watch.

  • 10 DIY kits full of fun tech that your kids can build themselves, all at an extra 15% off

    DIY. It's a magical word. Or, more specifically, three words. Do it yourself means something in the tech arena, so this collection of cool projects to assemble from component pieces not only leaves you with something fun at the end, but it bolsters your knowledge and electronics abilities along the way.

    These 10 kits are all guaranteed fun while you actually learn something. And on top of their already healthy discounts, you can apply the Semi-Annual Sale price to all these items as well, knocking another 15 percent off. Just enter the code ANNUAL15 at checkout and you'll get each of these fun sets for a startlingly low price.

    SunFounder Nano DIY 4-DOF Robot Kit – $39.91 after code ANNUAL15; originally $59

    Good rule of thumb: you'll never go wrong building a robot. This kit can prove it as you assemble Sloth, a fun little robot who you can build, then program to make walk, kick, or even dance. The Arduino board inside Sloth makes him capable of all kinds of fun coding challenges, and users can even build him in a few different configurations to keep the fun going.

    Circuit Scribe DIY Ultra Kit – $58.64 after code ANNUAL15; originally $99

    Here's one of the most interesting ways to explain to kids the mystery of electricity and circuitry ever. Using the kit's special conductive ink pen, users can literally hand-raw circuits to make lights blink, buzzers beep, and motors whirl, all on a simple piece of paper. And once you rope in an Arduino board or Raspberry Pi microcomputer, you can even start coding around the circuits. It's both fun and inventive.

    DIY Autonomous Vehicle Kit for Ages 8 to 13 – $191.24 after code ANNUAL15; originally $249

    Every kid dreams of a car that'll drive itself, so with this kit, they can actually build it for themselves. Young automakers earn the mechanical experience of crafting the vehicle from the ground up. Then using artificial intelligence, they find exactly how much technology impacts how modern transportation really works.

    oneTeslaTS DIY Musical Coil Kit – $339.99 after code ANNUAL15; originally $449

    Is it a science experiment or a musical instrument? With this Tesla coil, it's actually both. Learners can go through the steps to actually assemble this Tesla coil, then use it to vibrate air molecules, actually changing the frequency of sound waves generated each second to raise and lower pitch for one of the coolest — and weirdest — instruments ever.

    Nibble Educational DIY Game Console for Ages 9+ – $67.96 after code ANNUAL15; originally $79

    The Nibble looks like an average handheld retro gaming console. But there's a lot more happening here than that. It's actually a wicked smart educational tool, engaging kids in the pursuit of electronics and programming knowledge, all while they build the console on their own. Plus, it's got four cool pre-loaded games packed in once you've got it all put together so you can play to your heart's content.

    DIY Building Block STEM Drone – $42.49 after code ANNUAL15; originally $129

    Every kid loves to fly drones, so let 'em build one. Kids ages 6 to 10 use detailed instructions to craft this drone out of building blocks — but they better understand the laws of aerodynamics and weight distribution or they're bound for a very short flight. This drone not only encourages STEM learning and playing outdoors, but it develops a curious eye for the world and everything in it.

    Metal Vehicle DIY Model Kit – $101.96 after code ANNUAL15; originally $119

    This kit is all about model building, but with a decidedly mechanical twist. You get all the pieces to assemble a replica Bentley Speed Six vintage supercar. In addition to the high-quality artificial leather pieces, polished stainless steel construction, and authentic rubber tires, this foot-long model has most of the features of the original, from a car hood and doors that open, to a rear carrying space. But this model also comes with a wind-up feature so you can set it down and let it tear across your tabletop on the road to adventure.

    Spencer DIY Voice Assistant – $84.99 after code ANNUAL15; originally $119

    It's like Alexa, but a kid-friendly version. And yes, they make for themselves too. This DIY voice assistant teaches kids to learn about soldering, microcomputers, electronics, LED grids, sound processing, and even coding. But once they're done, Spencer can give you the weather, tell a joke, sing a song, set an alarm, or even show animations. 

    Flux Capacitor with Animated LED Lights Kit – $46.74 after code ANNUAL15; originally $64

    Yep, it's the flux capacitor from Back to the Future — but unlike Marty McFly, you'll know how to build it for real. This palm-sized replica comes together using building blocks, but it's also got its own LED light array so you can juice this baby up to 88 mph and really drink in the fun as it blinks and flashes its way through time.

    Geeek Club DIY Robot Construction Kit – $107.06 after code ANNUAL15; originally $129

    You get the component parts to create seven different NanoBot robots, each giving builders an education in structural engineering and electrical design without it feeling like a stuffy classroom tutorial. With 70 different pieces, including light sensors and vibro-motors, you follow the step-by-step instructions to build a robot from the ground up, each capable of intelligently moving toward any light source. If you ever wanted to create your own robotic life, this is a solid start.

  • There's an official $#@&ing terminology for censoring swears like $#@&: Grawlix

    Artist Mitch Gerads is perhaps best known for his award-winning collaborations with writer Tom King which deconstructed the mental health struggles of less popular DC superheroes such as Adam Strange and Mister Miracle (though they also did some great work together on Batman). The other day on Twitter, Gerads responded to a fan who criticized his lettering work on the penultimate issue of Strange Adventures, which came out this week:

    First of all: Gerads explanation for his artistic decision to censor swears is really thoughtful, and, frankly (IMHO), the correct impulse. Curse words can stick out awkwardly, bringing unnecessary attention to the swear itself rather than the other words (which the swear is presumably intended to emphasize). This is particularly true in a story with heightened, gritty motions … but tends to express that through means other than harsh language. Gerads artwork in Strange Adventure already succeeds at conveying all the post-traumatic stress that's ravaging the jetpack-bound space hero; a big ol' FUCK! FUCKITY FUCK FUCK! is going to distract from that.

    Secondly: this tweet was the first time I have ever seen a "$&%#@!" word referred to as "Grawlix." It's one of those weird linguistic things that I've always just accepted, and taken for granted, without considering that someone would have named, identified, and categorized it. According to a 2013 article from Slate, the term "grawlix" was coined by Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker. In 1964, Walker wrote an article for the National Cartoonist Society about an early 20th century comic strip called The Katzenjammer Kids, which deployed the grawlix tactic as early as 1903:

    So why "grawlix?" What does the word mean? As the Merriam-Webster Dictionary notes, "There's nothing to indicate where Walker came up with grawlix, but it is notable that the word resembles growl, which suggests the kind of muttering sound one makes when angry." Furthermore, "grawlix" was only one of many nonsense-sounding terms for cartooning tropes that Walker would coin, according to his book The Lexicon of Comicana.

    Walker offered a little more insight in his 2000 book, Mort Walker's Private Scrapbook:

    It started out as a joke for the National Cartoonists Society magazine. I spoofed the tricks cartoonists use, like dust clouds when characters are running or lightbulbs over their heads when they get an idea. My son Brian thought I should expand the idea and make a book of it. I spent many hours at the museum going over old cartoons and recording their 'language.' I created pseudoscientific names for each cartoon cliché, like the sweat marks cartoon characters radiate. I called them 'plewds,' after the god of rain, 'Joe Pluvius.' I considered it a humor book. When it came out, I looked for it in the humor section of a bookstore and finally found it in Art Instruction. I inquired and they said, 'What's funny about it?' I said, 'The names.' They said, 'We didn't know what those things were called.' I said, 'They weren't called anything till I called them that.' It was another case of satire falling flat. I gave up and am selling it now as an instruction book.

    Well, @$#%.

    More on the early days of obscenicons [Ben Zimmer / UPenn Language Log]

    How Did @#$%&! Come to Represent Profanity? [Ben Zimmer / Slate]

    What the @#$%&! Is a Grawlix? [Richard Norquist / ThoughtCo]

  • Horror stories of dogs abused, dead or missing while being looked after by Rover sitters

    CNN Business reports on the growing number of dogs that have gone missing or died while in the care of sitters provided by Rover, an Uber-like pet-sitting service. They report on six, but suspects there are many more because, it reports, the company uses arbitration and NDAs to muzzle customers.

    All of them said they turned to the platform because it was a recognizable name in the industry and they felt more comfortable after reading positive reviews of their respective sitters on the site. One pet owner said her sitter remained on the platform for months after her dogs were lost while in the sitter's care. (Rover declined to comment on this claim.) Another owner, whose dog was found dead with no explanation, said the sitter whose care he was in remains live on the platform. (Rover said it is reviewing this matter.)It's unclear how many owners have experienced such incidents. [Rover spokesperson Dave] Rosenbaum told CNN Business the company tracks these incidents but does not "currently disclose" numbers. However, there have been stories over the years of dogs who were lost,abused, or found dead while in the care of Rover sitters, often reported on by local news outlets.

    CNN found sitters still on the platform even after animals died in their care under inexplicable circumstances.

    Annette Leturia dropped off her two dogs — two-year-old Togo and nearly four-year-old Liam — with a Rover sitter in Houston, Texas, in late June for what was supposed to be a week-long vacation, only to return early after the sitter told her Togo was found dead on the bathroom floor. Afterward, Leturia said she had an independent background check done on the sitter, which turned up troubling charges for grand theft and fraud. She said she still has no closure on what happened to Togo.In the meantime, based on screenshots viewed by CNN Business, the sitter appears to be pet sitting on the platform. When asked about this, [Rover spokesperson Dave] Rosenbaum said: "We have asked our team to review the specifics of this incident and take further action if appropriate."

    And cash for silence:

    Joy Collier, whose Blue Weimaraner and Aussie Shepard doodle went missing in late May 2020 while in the care of a sitter she booked through Rover, allegedly had a similar experience. She said Rover offered her roughly $4,300 on the condition of signing an NDA after she started to get some local press attention about her lost dogs.

    I wouldn't trust so much as a houseplant to the care of this company.

  • How dumb Social Media rules punished me for a Lovecraftian parody of Billy Joel

    Back in the winter of 2018, a sort-of meme went around pointing out that the cadence of the HP Lovecraft poem "Nemesis" fit perfectly with the melody of Billy Joel's "Piano Man."

    Thro' the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
    Past the wan-moon'd abysses of night,
    I have liv'd o'er my lives without number,
    I have sounded all things with my sight;
    And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

    It was true. It was funny. So I grabbed my guitar, recorded a quick, unrehearsed video of myself singing Lovecraft's words in a simulacrum of Billy Joel's famously haunting melody, posted it to social media, and moved on with my life.

    Four months later, I received a DMCA takedown notice from Twitter on behalf of Universal Music Publishing Group, saying:

    These file(s) offer access to unlicensed exploitations of musical compositions owned or controlled by UMPG. I have a good faith belief that this activity is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. I assert that the information in this notification is accurate, based upon the data available to me. 

    Twitter, as per their usual policies, immediately took my video down, and told me to defend myself. I responded:

    This takedown notice was sent to me in error. The video I posted parodied the melody from a Billy Joel song using lyrics about an ancient demon bent on driving all of a humanity into madness. This is clearly transformative, and therefore qualifies as a derivative work as defined by the DMCA, meaning that it is not subject to the copyright held by UMPG. Furthermore, my video clearly qualifies under the four points of the Fair Use doctrine of the DMCA:

    1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes (this is a non-commercial video)

    2. The nature of the copyrighted work (as explained above, it is not a copyrighted work because it qualifies as a transformative derivative work)

    3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole (again, my video did not infringe on UMPG's copyright)

    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work (a non-commercial derivative Lovecraftian parody does not infringe upon Billy Joel's "potential market")

    I never heard anything back about this. The video was never restored to Twitter.

    I realize that this is standard practice for this kind of intellectual property dispute: the social media company relies on overly-aggressive algorithms and always errs on the side of the powerful corporate complaint and removes the content until it's proven innocent. It's … not a great system.

    I recently learned that UMPG had done the same thing to the video I posted on YouTube. But I never received an email notification about that, and I frankly don't check my YouTube Creator Channel very often, because I don't post things regularly on YouTube. So I have no idea how long they were claiming the copyright to my video — and the income (however minuscule) from the plays it received. Once I realized this, I immediately contested the claim. To my surprise, Billy Joel's lawyers relented, and finally returned the rights of my stupid 4-year-old video back over to me.

    I am, however, still fighting Instagram for taking down a video of me and my band listening to our own album. But still: score one for Cthulhu at least.

    Image: Cthulhu for America campaign via Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

  • Get a complete picture of your cat's oral health with a $68 Basepaws test

    Cats…well, they just don't care what you think. Sure, they love you in their own way. But they've got their own agenda. And what you want … is usually pretty far down their priority list, even if it's in their own best interests.

    That often includes items related to their own health, including dental care. For a dog, you can get one of those doggie toothbrushes, but do you see a cat putting up with that for even a second? No. No, you wouldn't.

    That's why you've gotta be sneaky with the felines. Hit 'em with a Basepaws Cat Dental Health Test and you can get an accurate update on everything happening in your cat's mouth — and they won't even try to tear your hand open if you try.

    Of course, you do have to swab the inside of your cat's mouth first. But if you can accomplish that, simply send the sample back to Basepaws and within a few weeks, you get back a detailed screening report for three major cat dental problems: periodontal disease like gingivitis and periodontitis, tooth resorption, and the chronic opponent of most cat parents, bad breath.

    Rather than waiting for those painful or at least annoying dental issues to surface, the Basepaws test analyzes more than 1,000 microbes to find disease signatures before they become visible to the eye. That way, you've got a critical jump on combating any feline tooth issues early.

    Meanwhile, the report not only highlights those dental problems but what your cat's oral health says about their overall health. In addition to personalized recommendations for improvements as well as clinical care suggestions to share with your vet, this report will even identify the top 5 plant and animal DNAs that show up in your cat's mouth. So if you're convinced your cat is chewing on the fern or snacking on tiny critters in your home, this report will narc them out.

    The Basepaws Cat Dental Health Test usually costs $79, but right now, you can use the Semi-Annual Sale code ANNUAL15 when you check out to save 15 percent. That lowers your total cost to only $67.99.

  • Watch a reporter's surprise when he sees a truck behind him has rolled into a lake

    While an Illinois reporter for WICS Channel 20 stood in front of Lake Springfield, talking about drought conditions, a white pickup truck was rolling toward the water. The driver had apparently stepped out of the truck to help launch a boat into the lake and neglected to engage the emergency brake. The truck rolled down the ramp, floated away, and sank.

    When the reporter looked over his shoulder to see what happened, you could hear the barely restrained glee in his voice when he gasped and said, "Uh, get this on camera!"

    According to WICS, "No one was inside the vehicle at the time it sank, and no injuries were reported."

    Click to expand

  • Extend your vision for dark movie nights with this $8.50 LED backlight for smart TVs

    You've got a big ole TV. It's 55"…or 65"…or 75". It's glorious. Absolutely glorious. But while its brilliance is obviously sublime, that could blind you to a couple of other facts to consider. Like how staring at a bright TV against an otherwise dark wall at night actually disrupts how our eyes measure light. Rather than taking in everything, our eyes only pinpoint on the bright spot against that dark backdrop. That means your eyes don't properly dilute for the actual amount of light they're taking in.

    This is why bias lighting was born. The Smart TV LED Backlight is a cheap, smart, and effective way to counterbalance potential eye strain while adding a cool new lighting effect to change up the feel of an entire room.

    This backlight isn't actually a light at all — it's really a 9-foot strip of LED lights, all affixed to a secure adhesive tape. Safely secure the strip around the four edges along the back of your TV screen, light 'em up, and the light bouncing off the wall creates a halo effect around the outside edges of your screen, widening your focus and reducing eye strain.

    While the light itself is fun, this light strip is also smart, so when it's synced to the GoSund app on your phone or tablet, you can control the lighting the way you want. You can choose from 16 million possible colors as well as brightness and saturation. There's also a schedule and timer function so you can automatically set the lights to go off and on each night like clockwork all by themselves.

    And the lights aren't only smart — they're sound-activated as well. Set them to the sync mode and the tiny microphone located on the strip will actually sync the light patterns to the sound it hears. So if you want to shift colors or watch the light pulse in unison to the action of your favorite shows and movies, this strip will get it done. Plus, if it's connected to your home Wi-Fi, this backlight is also controllable via voice commands to an Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or other smart speakers.

    This eye-relieving Smart TV LED Backlight won't just save your vision, it's also incredibly inexpensive. Regularly $13, you can add an additional 15 percent price cut to the already included discount just by using the Semi-Annual Sale code ANNUAL15 during checkout. That drops your price down to just $8.49. 

  • Watch weird Madison Cawthorn declare "Madam speaker, you are not God!" in over-the-top mask protest

    In stilted speech fit for a Christian theater camp audition, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R–NC) channeled his inner thespian today. Taking center stage on the House floor to protest the mask mandate, he deepened his voice and with pointed finger thundered, "Madam speaker, you are not God!"

    "Your will does not bend the forest or shake the mountains. And let me assure you, your will does not bow the knee of my countrymen who refuse to heed your callous command." The well-rehearsed congressman and alleged sex pest continued his dramatic monologue by comparing the mask mandate to "medical apartheid," and with bravado made assurances to the kingdom as well as his countrymen: "I will not let it stand. … for if I am to cowardly bend the knee here … what is to stop you all from taking your tyranny to the rest of this country that I love … ."

    Talk about political theater! It was quite an unbelievable performance, but it's not clear from the video whether or not he got the part.

  • This 1970 documentary shows dirty old New York at its meanest and most decrepit

    Narrated by the incredible Jack Gilford, "A Bridge Over Troubled Waters" is a 28-minute documentary about Jewish philanthropical foundation addressing poverty in New York City in 1970. The streets are filthy, everything looks grimy, and it's heartbreaking to watch homeless teenagers talking about how they barely scrape by.

    On YouTube some people asked the filmmaker, David Hoffman, if he knew what happened to the kids. He said, "Unfortunately, in those days I didn't take releases like we were required to do years later so I didn't really know their names. I gave them some money and wish them well and never saw them again. They were very nice people in really tough spots."

  • A gorgeous wooden ergonomic keyboard you can actually buy

    The Keyboardio Model 100 is a handsome wooden ergonomic keyboard, all but alone in a world of ugly "medical devices" to which typists with tricky hands must subject themselves. Just a few hours remains on its Kickstarter campaign if you want one by January 2022. The makers have a track record of shipping quality gadgets.

    Kaia Dekker, co-founder of Keyboardio, writes:

    My husband and I started Keyboardio in the spring of 2014. We started designing keyboards for ourselves after developing repetitive stress injuries. After numerous people asked us where they could buy that strange looking keyboard we were using, we decided to go into business. Our first product launched on Kickstarter in 2015 and we've sold many thousands since. We're also known for writing extensively about the travails of low-volume hardware manufacturing in China. We launched our second product, an ultraportable keyboard designed for travel on Kickstarter in March of 2020, just as the pandemic shut down the world and shipped it later that year, to rave reviews.

  • The full story of the Dybbuk Box hoax

    The Dybbuk Box—a cursed wine box that supposedly came to America laden with its owner's grim experience of the Holocaust—was one of the few straight-up paranormal "hits" in an era when the subject became laced with irony and meta. Books and a movie followed. Though sharply debunked in Skeptical Inquirer after a revealing social media post from the maker, Input got everyone—including the hoaxers—on the record to tell the full story.

    Mannis says it wasn't money issues that motivated him, but relationship problems with his girlfriend and a host of other bad-luck events. He says he channeled all of that negative energy into his tall tale. "At the time I created the Dybbuk Box, it was during Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement," he writes in a Facebook message to me. "I created the box whilst praying and asking for forgiveness for all of the sins that I had committed that I knew about, and, perhaps even more important, the sins I had committed that I didn't know about."

    Not everything about Mannis' story was fake, however. "I did give her the box on Halloween," he tells me, referring to his mother, who has since passed. "She did have that stroke."