Mississippi Senator jokes about enjoying a public hanging

"If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row," Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said of a supporter who praised her. Hyde-Smith is facing a run-off election; her opponent is a black man.

“Hyde-Smith’s decision to joke about ‘hanging,’ when the history of African-Americans is marred by countless incidents of this barbarous act, is sick,” said NAACP president Derrick Johnson in a statement Sunday. “Any politician seeking to serve as a national voice of the people of Mississippi should know better.”

Democrat Mike Espy, whom she’ll face in a Nov. 27 runoff election, said the comment had “no place in our political discourse.”

In conservative "jokes" about violence, always look for the rope.

Italian prosecutors have given up on catching the person who hacked and destroyed Hacking Team

Hacking Team (previously) was an Italian company that developed cyberweapons that it sold to oppressive government around the world, to be used against their own citizens to monitor and suppress political oppositions; in 2015, a hacker calling themselves "Phineas Fisher" hacked and dumped hundreds of gigabytes' worth of internal Hacking Team data, effectively killing the company. (more…)

In-flight "brawl" between American Airlines stewards leads to lawsuit

An American Airlines steward is suing the airline, claiming that a colleague assaulted her during a flight and that it refused to address her complaints. A lawyer representing the airline, as quoted by USA Today, says that she had it coming: it is "not liable because Plaintiff caused or contributed to cause the harm".

An American Airlines flight attendant who says she was dragged down the aisle by her scarf by a fellow crew member has sued the Dallas-based carrier for failing to investigate the July 2016 brawl or take actions to ensure her safety.

In her lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court and obtained by The Dallas Morning News, Kathy Ida Wolfe says another flight attendant, Laura Powers, "maliciously dug her fingernails into my arm, and slammed the door of a beverage cart on my arm" and later "grabbed my scarf, choking me, and dragged me in the aisle and in front of the passengers."

Alas, there's no video of the "brawl." Dallas News has more:

Wolfe, of Irving, said she followed American's procedures by reporting the attack to the captain, other flight attendants and the flight service manager.

"I also reported the assault and battery to legal authorities after American Airlines failed to investigate and/or take action to ensure my safety," she said in the lawsuit, which was initially filed in June in Tarrant County district court.

Raspberry Pi's potential is wider than you think

What do you get for the techie who has everything? How about giving them a Raspberry Pi and letting them make pretty much anything. Or better yet, do it for yourself with the Ultimate Raspberry Pi eBook Bundle.

This trove of ideas and education unlocks the unlimited potential of this mini-computer, whose affordability and versatility make it the hottest UK import since the Beatles. You'll get two full lessons that show you how to supercharge your Raspberry Pi with Python programming, teaming up the two to create robots, animation, and games. Other eBooks will let you build a supercomputer from the top down, or assemble Bond-worthy gadgets like laser trip-wires, motion detectors or voice distorters.

That's more than 1400 lessons for less than the cost of most Raspberry Pi units. The Ultimate Raspberry Pi eBook Bundle is a discounted $19.99 for lifetime access. Whether you're a budding coder or experienced maker, this one is an invaluable library of ideas.

Wells Fargo: We can't be sued for lying to shareholders because it was obvious we were lying

Wells Fargo has asked a court to block a shareholder lawsuit that seeks to punish the company for lying when it promised to promptly and completely disclose any new scandals; Wells Fargo claims that the promise was obvious "puffery," a legal concept the FTC has allowed to develop in which companies can be excused for making false claims if it should be obvious that they are lying (as when a company promises that they make "the best-tasting juice in America). (more…)

Game strategy guide publisher Prima is no more

Gamers of a certain age remember what it was like to walk into Game Stop or Electronics Boutique, pick a game, then be tempted by the siren call of a Prima guide at the front counter. Before the Internet offered walk-through videos Twitch streams and online guides, the guides churned out by Prima were one of the best ways to enrich/ruin your gaming experience with all of the hacks, loot locations and maps required to play every game in your library from soup to nuts. Sadly, after years of service to gamers and scads of books, Prima's calling it a day.

From Kotaku:

Thanks to the rise of sites like GameFAQs—and major gaming publications like IGN commissioning their own online guides, which bring in monstrous amounts of traffic—print strategy guides have struggled for years now. In 2015, Prima purchased and swallowed its biggest competitor, BradyGames, and has been consistently churning out guides for both print and the web, but it wasn’t enough to survive what the company called “a significant decline” in the world of print video game guides.

I feel a lot of nostagia for Prima's dead tree guides, but they've honestly have had their day. Books were fine back in the days before updates, expansion packs and patches. But as games have become more dynamic, the books became far less useful and were often out-of-date within weeks of hitting store shelves.

Image via Custom Tombstone Maker

"Monopoly for Millennials" recommends playing in your parents' basement

Just in time for the holidays, Hasbro has released "Monopoly for Millennials", the game where you're encouraged to take a break from the rat race because "adulting is hard."

This should go over well.

Money doesn't always buy a great time, but experiences, whether they're good -- or weird -- last forever. The Monopoly for Millennials game celebrates just that. Instead of collecting as much cash as possible, players are challenged to rack up the most Experiences to win. Travel around the gameboard discovering and visiting cool places to eat, shop, and relax. Interact with other players via Chance and Community Chest cards, (which are super relatable). And players don't pay rent -- they visit one another, earning more Experience points. This board game is a great way to bring a fun and relaxed vibe to a party or casual get-together.

That's right - there's no rent to pay and no real estate to buy because, as it says on the front of the box, "Forget real estate. You can't afford to buy it anyway."

Experiences include a 3-day music festival, a friend's couch, a vegan bistro, bike share, and yoga studio. A hashtag and smiley face emoji are among the tokens. The person with the most student debt rolls first. Uncle Pennybags is wearing a participation ribbon.


The reaction has been less than appreciative.

Monopoly for Millennials [Walmart][Photos: Walmart/Hasbro]

An illustrated tour of Unix history

Unix pioneer Rob Pike was there from the start, physically transporting key elements of the "Toronto distribution" of Unix to Berkeley when he started grad school, and then to Bell Labs, working alongside Dennis Ritchie and other key Unix programmers to develop and refine everything from modern editors to compilers to windowing systems. (more…)

Masks designed to filter smoke will filter smoke, beards will not

With all the smoke in California's air, ABC7 decided to answer the eternal question: will a mask designed to filter smoke and other particulates actually filter smoke and other particulates?

Public health officials say yes. Just make sure you get an N95, P95 or R95 mask.

Bearded people and young children need not bother.

The Bay Area Quality Management District advises that masks aren't suitable for men with beards or young children.

'Alternative Facts' Conway vouches for alternative video

Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered the world an internet sourced doctored video demonstrating CNN's Jim Acosta physically chopping at the arm of a White House intern*. The White House then used that video as an excuse to take away Acosta's press pass.

Acosta was repeating a question that President Trump did not like, however Acosta felt important to get answered. Journalists try to push the President to answer questions at every press conference. It is their job.

Multiple sources have confirmed source video of the actual event, played at normal speed, shows Acosta to be a professional who regarded the intern with respect, while continuing to push the President. The video shared by Sanders is a sham.

Meanwhile, back at the White House, damage control was whimpering and hiding in a corner.

Things became desperate enough to release the Conway.

Be prepared to marvel in Kellyanne's logic free-zone.

From Politico:

"Oh, well, that's not altered, it's sped up. They do it all the time in sports to see if there's actually a first down or touchdown," Conway told host Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

"So, I'm going to have to disagree with, I think, the overwrought description of this video being doctored as if we put somebody else's arm in there."

The video in question was tweeted out by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday night in announcing the decision to suspend Acosta's press pass and thus his access to the White House. Acosta and Trump had a tense exchange during a news conference earlier Wednesday, in which Trump called him "a rude, terrible person."

Acosta tried to continue asking a question as a staffer attempted to take the microphone away from him — the point at which, the White House claims, he "puts his hands on" the intern.

Independent experts have told reporters that the footage is doctored.

Multiple journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, have slammed the move. Acosta has said the notion he put his hands on the intern is "a lie," and CNN has said it stands behind one of its most prominent reporters.

Conway also suggests Trump's lickspittle acting Attorney General Whittaker's commentary about the Mueller investigation (it is a horrible crime committed against Orange Julius and the country,) were somehow made as a private citizen and not relevant to his appointment.

*Also appears Sanders was lying about the status of the 'intern.' The intern is a paid employee making $130k/year. Why even bother with this lie? Perhaps once Sanders got going she felt like trying to slip a few extras in for good measure?

This artist uses jigsaw puzzles, with the same die cut pattern, to make these terrific mashups

Oh boy, I think I have a new hobby. I've just learned that you can combine puzzles, that have the same die cut, to make really awesome pieces of art. It had never occurred to me that manufacturers of mass-produced puzzles cut different puzzles of theirs in the same way, making the pieces interchangeable. It makes complete sense, of course, but my mind is still blown!

I learned about the art of "puzzle montage" from one of the readers of my inbox zine, Marcia Wiley (she's the gal in Seattle who's fixing up that cool old Checker Cab). She was visiting the Bay Area and we met up for the first time this past Friday. That's when she told me about her friend Tim Klein, who makes incredible puzzle montages. I'm excited to share his work with you.

In an email exchange, Tim told me that he learned about puzzle montages from the man who first made them, art professor Mel Andringa of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, "As far as I know, he and I are the only artists ever to pursue it seriously. And I think he's moved on to other things nowadays, so I may be the sole surviving practitioner."

And this is what Tim shared with me about his process:

...By selecting pieces from two or more compatible puzzles, I assemble a single "puzzle mashup" with surreal imagery that the publisher never imagined.

Sometimes the results are merely chuckle-making, such as my combination of King Tut's burial mask with the front of a truck, which I call "King of the Road". But my favorite montages are ones in which the whimsical is tinged with something a bit deeper, such as "The Mercy-Go-Round (Sunshine and Shadow)", in which a fairground carousel whirls riders around a church from the light to the dark and back again -- or "Surrogate", in which a strange hybrid of beer can and teddy bear opens its fuzzy arms and tells you to "consider yourself hugged".
[editor note: "Mercy", not "Merry"]

The imagery in jigsaw puzzles published nowadays tends to be very busy, often consisting of densely-packed collages constructed with Photoshop. But for my purposes, I favor puzzles from pre-digital years, when the picture was typically a photograph of a single subject, such as a galloping horse or a ballerina or the Empire State Building. As I visit thrift stores and garage sales in search of vintage puzzles, I sometimes feel like an archaeologist, taking great pleasure in discovering and "reconstructing" strange, shattered images whose shards have been languishing in suburban game closets for decades.

Take a look at some of his work (click to embiggen) and then go here to see the rest and to read Tim's notes about the specific pieces:

Aren't they magnificent?

So, yeah, I think I have a new hobby. In fact, I just dug out these two puzzles out of the closet. I know, they're "busy" and probably 'shopped but I still want to give it a go.

P.S. Tim also has a groovy yarn-covered art car.

Write with a pen, save your notes online with this futuristic notebook

Note-taking just caught up to the digital age. For most of us, writing freehand is quicker and more convenient than pecking away on a tablet, but what to do when you need those scribbles on file? Grab a Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Notebook, which seamlessly fuses analog and digital notes.

Just jot down your thoughts, journals or sketches as you normally would on any of the Everlast's 32 pages with a special Pilot FriXion pen (included with this 2-pack, but also available in stores). You'll find the writing feels natural and the ink permanent - until you need to use the page again. In which case, simply wipe the page clean with a damp cloth. Need to save your work? Use the companion app to scan and send your page to cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox or OneNote. You can even flag the included icons to save directly to specific folders.

Pick up the Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Notebook and never buy another. A 2-pack with included Pen Station is on sale at $59.99.

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