Facebook execs are worried that Zuck's emails show he never took his FTC privacy obligations seriously

In 2012, Facebook settled an FTC privacy investigation by promising a host of privacy protections (that they never delivered on); now, the FTC is probing Facebook's noncompliance and they've demanded that the company let them look at Zuck's email, which prompted the company's legal team to have a look therein, and they really didn't like what they saw. (more…)

Over 5 years of service from this hammock kit in a rough marine environment

Since May of 2013 I've enjoyed this Vivere double hammock and its space-saving steel stand.

The price dropped to around $90 on average last year. It has been down to $70-ish once or twice, but I've gotten so much service from this kit, I think it was a deal at $140. Here is my first review.

I have once replaced the hammock itself! I fault myself, and not the hammock due to my leaving it in the sun, wind, and rain for a few years. I now respectfully take the replacement hammock down at night and bring it in. Several years of use and the replacement looks good as new. I am sure if you care for yours it will last as well.

The stand is good as new. Even in the salty sea air, it has merely developed a patina. I have kept this hammock about 200ft from the Pacific Ocean.

My daughter and I frequently use the hammock. I love it for recovering from any illness, and sleeping outside at night. My kid likes to watch YouTube videos in out, as WIFI easily reaches the deck.

Vivere Double Hammock with Space-Saving Steel Stand via Amazon

Guys, Brooklyn Ball Barbers cater to your manscaping needs

Good gentleman of Brooklyn, there's a place in your borough that specializes in artisanal manscaping. It's called Brooklyn Ball Barbers and they claim, "Your dick pick game will be second to none."

Oh nuts, Comedy Central. You had me going for about 12 seconds there.

But, can we just take a moment to admire the attention to detail in this video? For example, this logo:

And the barber chair with stirrups:

Also, how long do you suppose it will be until a shop like this is a reality?

Chuck Jones' 9 rules for writing Road Runner stories

I admire Chuck Jones and all the great work he did on Looney Tunes cartoons. That said, I don't like Road Runner. It suffers from the same problem that Scooby Do, Where Are You? and Dora the Explorer have - the same story told again and again. I also didn't like the smug bird, and when I saw this photocopy office art many years ago I knew others shared my sentiment:

I just came across these 9 rules that Chuck Jones created for Road Runner cartoons. Constraints are often a good thing for creative projects, but in this case, they resulted in a repetitive, unfunny cartoon series.

What lies lay in wait in this week's tabloids?

You’re a tabloid reporter and you’re used to fabricating many of the “facts” and “quotes” in your stories, but there are some days when you can’t even be bothered to do that with any conviction, days when your fevered imagination doesn’t have the energy to get out of bed.

So you get what we see in this week’s tabloids.

George & Amal Clooney are "Dating Other People!” reports the ’National Enquirer,’ in an “Exclusive" inspired by the Clooneys announcing a charity fundraiser offering the winner a private dinner with the celebrity couple at their home in Italy.

The ‘Enquirer’ amazingly interprets the Clooneys' altruism as “an excuse to ignore their wedding vows,” suggesting that the couple are wife-swapping swingers for charity, and that George has “opened the door to other men to enjoy the company of his leggy 41-year-old wife!” Expect the Clooneys to fire off an uncharitable lawsuit any minute now.

The ‘Globe’ cover’s obligatory story about the British Royals boasts: “Explosive Police Dossier Found! Charles’ Motive For Murdering Diana!” Prince Charles allegedly had Diana killed because she was scheming to have him bypassed by the Queen so that the crown would go to son William after QE!!’s death. Which makes no sense: As we’ve noted before, The Act of Settlement of 1701 demands that the monarch’s male heir succeed to the throne no matter what anyone wants. Moreover, Diana was divorced from Charles and anathema to the Palace at the time of her demise, so there’s no way the Queen would have done Diana’s bidding. None of which, unsurprisingly, comes from a newly-discovered “explosive police dossier,” which turns out to be the same old “secret dossier” that the ‘Enquirer’ has for years claimed exists, supposedly blaming Charles for masterminding Diana’s fatal car crash.
“Dying Natalie Wood Screamed For Help!” claims a “Special Report” in the ‘Globe,’ which repeats the story that first appeared in the Los Angeles Times in December 1981, just days after the actress drowned. It’s an allegation that’s been repeated hundreds of times since, but this week it’s “Only in Globe!” as the grammatically-challenged rag crows, presumably because everyone else wrote about this 37 years ago.

The ‘Enquirer’ cover story makes a rare foray into true crime, proclaiming: "Connecticut Mom Murder: Inside House of Horrors!” and promising to reveal “Her Tortured Final Minutes.” It’s the story of Farmington mother-of-five Jennifer Dulos, and describes her “ambush" and “execution style” murder in her home’s garage. But Dulos is still missing, no body has been found, and there’s been no evidence of a shooting, execution-style or otherwise. As for Dulos’ “tortured final minutes” and the claim that “only the killer could hear her cries for help,” that makes no sense if she was ambushed and killed execution-style: no torture, no cries for help; just a quick, cold and ruthless murder. The ‘Enquirer' can’t even make it up properly.

The 'Enquirer’ takes aim at the royals with its story “Starstruck Meghan Infuriates The Queen!” Her Majesty allegedly “exploded in a rage” after learning that Meghan “is confessing her most intimate secrets to a psychic!” But the best evidence the ‘Enquirer' can come up with is that Meghan consulted with California psychic Richard Win in 2016 - a tale told many times before. Nothing to suggest Meghan’s still consulting psychics, or she would have seen this story coming.

Even more threadbare is the ‘Globe’ “Exclusive” claiming that Tom Cruise “Falls For Skydiving Teach.” This story sees its origins in a small local newspaper in England reporting last month on skydiving instructor Sian Stokes, whose work on several movies included ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ with Cruise, but with no mention of a relationship between them. The ‘Globe’ has taken this earthbound tidbit and lofted it to an altitude where the air is so thin that one can barely cling to consciousness, spinning it into a story that “Tom Cruise is head over heels” for the lithe blonde skydiver. Though filming finished in January 2018 “he’s still drooling over her,” claims an unnamed source. Probably the first Cruise has heard of it.

The glossies continue their plunge into pure PR puffery, led by ‘Us’ magazine’s cover story sucking up to Britain’s Princess Kate: “Grace Under Pressure How the mum of three copes with rumors, responsibility and royal rifts.” It’s a hagiographic hymn to “overachiever” Kate: “cool under pressure,” thriving on “retail therapy, self-care, communication, exercise . . . “ You can almost hear the editor phoning the Palace to ask for an at-home photo shoot in the wake of this piece.

Equally sycophantic is ‘People’ magazine’s cover story on “Mariska Hartigay & Peter Hermann: Inside Our 18-Year Love Story.” It’s so saccharine it should come with a health warning: Life’s “beautiful,” their three kids are “incredible,” they have "two hit shows” and a “heartfelt promise” that “the going may get rough, but there is no backing out.” Well, where’s the fun in that?

‘People’ also does its best to ingratiate itself with the Royals, with its post-natal report on “Meghan’s Return!” The mag’s verdict? She’s “radiant.” Shocking, but true.

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at ‘Us’ mag to tell us that Margot Robbie wore it best (Ellie Bamber never stood a chance), that ‘People’ cover-boy Peter Hermann confesses: “I love ironing” (well, who doesn’t?), that Lisa Loeb carries grocery lists, song-writing notes and a caramel Tootsie Pop in her LeSportsac bag, and that the stars are just like us: they drink coffee, eat frozen yogurt, and “they read!” But not all of them, I’d imagine.

It’s puns-aplenty in this week’s tabloid headlines. See if you can spot the deliberate bad pun in these:

· “Rough News For Tiger: Ex-Wife’s Pregnant!” (The golfer’s ex may be expecting.)
· “Nic Cage Is Free Man!” (The actor was granted a divorce.)
· “Butthead Brad Has His Kids Fuming!” (Pitt won’t quit smoking.)
· “Colin Hung Out to Dry!” (Actor Colin Farrell struggled to film after a hard night’s boozing.)
· “Ford’s Plane Crazy at 76!” (Actor Harrison went skydiving - though sadly not with Tom Cruise’s instructor.)

Onwards and downwards . . .

A Korean bodybuilder describes how years of steroid use messed up his body

Joint pain. Poor digestion. Hair loss. Erectile dysfunction. No libido. These are just a few of the lasting symptoms experienced by Kim Dong-hyeon, a bodybuilder in South Korea, after using over $3,000 of black-market steroids per month for many years. In this video he tells an Asian Boss reporter that he injected himself with steroids 20 times a day and that 98% of bodybuilders in South Korea take steroids.

New 'Looney Tunes Cartoons' are on the way

Evidently that wasn't all, folks.

Animation Scoop:

Looney Tunes Cartoons is a series of new short form cartoons starring the iconic and beloved Looney Tunes characters. With a crew of some of the premier artists working in animation today, each “season” will produce 1,000 minutes of all-new Looney Tunes animation that will be distributed across multiple platforms — including digital, mobile and broadcast.

Looney Tunes Cartoons echoes the high production value and process of the original Looney Tunes theatrical shorts, with a cartoonist-driven approach to storytelling. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and other marquee Looney Tunes characters will be featured in their classic pairings in simple, gag-driven and visually vibrant stories. Each cartoon will vary from one to six minutes in length and, from the premise on through to the jokes, will be “written” and drawn by the cartoonists, allowing their own personality and style to come through in each cartoon.

Looney Tunes Cartoons is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and features veteran Looney Tunes voice cast members, including Eric Bauza, Jeff Bergman and Bob Bergen. Sam Register (Teen Titans Go!) and Peter Browngardt (Uncle Grandpa) serve as executive producers.

Petition the moron with a swastika in his El Sobrante front yard to knock it off

Reasonable folks in El Sobrante do not like living with a symbol of hatred and oppression out in the open. A petition asking the idiot who cemented a swastika in his yard to remove it has been created. A protest has been planned.

Mr. Swastika thinks it is funny that fighting Nazism isn't just a local thing. I hope he likes cleaning egg off his cars.

SF Chron:

Johnson, reached by phone, said he hadn’t seen the petition, but he didn’t sound impressed.

“It sure is funny that all those people signing the petition don’t even live in this neighborhood,” he said.

Care2’s website notes that less than a third of the people who have signed the petition live in California.

Since news stories about the swastika appeared, Johnson’s car and two pickup trucks have been egged, he said. He suspects neighbors. The answering machine on his phone has been filled with insults and threats, he added, and lots of people have driven past and taken photographs.

Johnson covered the swastika with “blankets and stuff to calm things down,” but he hasn’t removed the offending symbol — though he held out the possibility.

“I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” Johnson said. “There’s been a lot more (reaction) than I expected. Everybody’s on my butt about this.”

Clearly, the petition won't work but it helps keep the heat on.

Boris Johnson tops first vote in UK Conservative Party election; winner will be prime minister too

With Theresa May stepping down as Conservative Party leader, her position—and with it the job of Prime Minister—will go to one of many candidates standing to replace her. In the first round of voting today, presumptive favorite Boris Johnson won the most votes and three others were knocked out. Seven proceed to the second vote next week.

Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey - have been knocked out, in the secret ballot held in the House of Commons. Mr Johnson received 114 votes, Jeremy Hunt was second with 43, and Michael Gove third with 37 votes.

The BBC graphic above shows how things shook out. Gove was badly hurt by last week's media exposé on the candidates' youthful drug habits due to the extent of his hypocrisy: as education secretary, he imposed a lifetime ban for teachers caught using drugs. Leadsom underperformed compared to opinion polling of party rank and file; she may have popularity issues among her peers in Parliament. Boris is not as inevitable as the first round suggests, as he received only 36% of the total, another candidate might surge as others drop out, and his propensity for gaffes and bigoted remarks offers latitude for a "June surprise". But he is surely the runaway favorite to lead his party—and Britain—into Brexit.

Hong Kong's #612strike protest movement: a million strong, leaderless, wireless and smart as hell

Hong Kong's previous mass-protest uprisings -- 2014's Occupy Central, 2016's Umbrella Revolution -- were ultimately smashed by the state through a combination of violent suppression and electronic surveillance, greatly aided by the hierarchical structure of the protest movements (which made it possible to decapitate them by arresting their leaders) and their internal divisions and infighting. (more…)

Beyond Meat added to Tim Hortons' menu

Eating the stuff that cows eat instead of eating cows is so hot right now! It's fine by me: last summer, I had the opportunity to nosh an Impossible Burger while I was in Boston. It was absolutely delicious (although I did have bacon with it, so there's that) and, as it's better for me and better for the planet, I'm all in on the idea. Protein-rich plant-based faux-meat is the way of the future, friendos. As it slowly gains popularity in restaurants and homes across America, it's also making a dent up north.

From The CBC:

Tim Hortons announced Wednesday that starting immediately, the chain's 4,000 locations across Canada are offering breakfast sandwiches made with Beyond Meat patties, a plant-based meat alternative whose popularity seems to be soaring.

The chain will offer three varieties of the Beyond Meat patty, including in an English muffin with egg and cheese, in a tortilla wrap with egg, cheese and other ingredients, or in a 100 per cent vegan form on a baked biscuit with lettuce and tomato.

For anyone that's every had to suffer through a Tim Horton's breakfast sandwich over the past few years, this could be great news: anything would be better than the taste sensation of an over-spiced sausage patties on a dryer-than-a-popcorn-fart biscuit that the chain has been churning out of late. Timmy's won't be the first chain in Canada to get in on the Beyond Meat action. A&W--which in Canada is superior in almost every way to the American chain of the same name--has been offering Beyond Meat burgers, for some time now.

Sometime next week, I'll let you know if the Beyond Meat breakfast sandwiches are an improvement over what has passed before.

Image via Flicker, courtesy of Jerry Huddleston

"Cursed" YouTube Video

This video shows a lowpoly 3D Scooby Doo animation found in SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom, an XBox video game, where it served as an advertisement for the game Scooby Doo Night of 100 Frights. People who play the video report that the sound is badly messed up, giving it an unsettling, disorienting vibe. The timeline bar claims it is 3:48 long, but the bar fills and ends in 1:07. The video then displays a loading spinner for another minute, then ... depending on the configution of your box ... the rest of the music will begin to play. The rest of the video footage is, presumably, forbidden.

While one might assume it is obviously just a corrupted video/audio stream whose metadata the YouTube player is misinterpreting, it says right in the comments that it is cursed. I'd assume that it's a very bad idea to FFprobe if you like living in this dimension.

Scooby Scooby do, zalgo you.

Chernobyl documentary footage vs. scenes from the show

HBO's Chernobyl was widely praised for its realistic depiction of the disaster and of the late Soviet Union itself: so meticulous that its mistakes and simplifications stood out in uncanny relief to those who were there.

In this video, Thomas Flight compares footage from the show with the documentary footage it was based upon.

I'm curious about why the text on the scene below, derived from Soviet TV broadcast announcing the disaster, differs from the original. Did HBO use a different source, or did they change it themselves some reason? НОВОСТИ (Novosti) means "NEWS" and was then (and now) the name of the official news agency, while ВРЕМЯ (Vremya) means "TIME" and is apparently the name of the evening news show.

Enjoy this video featuring an enormous, nuclear-powered icebreaker

The Soviets built a bunch of nuclear icebreakers: overbearing, overpowered, faintly absurd, and completely awesome.

This video was shot in the Arctic Ocean in March 2018. For 7 days the film crew passed through the Barents Sea to Karsky around the Novaya Zemlya archipelago on the nuclear icebreaker Yamal - we saw the northern lights and polar bears, watched the ships stuck in the ice being towed and were very cold.

Directed by Andrew Efimov. Andrey Rodin piloted the drones. Ivan Golubkov and Yaroslav Kuryanovish worked the footage.

In 1800, a wild boy emerged from a forest in southern France, where he'd lived alone for 7 years

In 1800 a 12-year-old boy emerged from a forest in southern France, where he had apparently lived alone for seven years. His case was taken up by a young Paris doctor who set out to see if the boy could be civilized. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll explore the strange, sad story of Victor of Aveyron and the mysteries of child development.

We'll also consider the nature of art and puzzle over the relationship between salmon and trees.

Show notes

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Two years after the Grenfell fire, survivors project warnings on similar tower blocks

Survivors of London's Grenfell fire, where 72 perished in a tower block with no sprinklers but lots of flammable cladding, are projecting messages on similarly-unsafe buildings in the UK.

The BBC reports that one of the towers, Frinstead House, is a "stone's throw" from Grenfell and still has no fire sprinklers.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, which took over management of the high-rise in March last year, said its staff had met residents to talk about sprinklers and other fire safety measures.

It said there was a fire safety programme under way across its borough and it was "seeking clear guidance and recommendations from central government on fire safety systems".

The inferno highlighted Britain's shoddy safety standards and the dangers of cladding, often installed on older towers to make them appear more modern. In response, the government banned combustible cladding and mandated sprinklers, but only in new construction: "Building owners are ultimately responsible for the safety of the building and it is for them to decide whether to retro-fit sprinklers."

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