Thunderdome for Democrats: Harris now leads Biden in California

Twenty democrats entered, one will lead.

The latest Quinnipiac run poll shows a US Senator from the Republic of California, Kamala Harris, leading the pack in the countries largest and probably most progressive state.

Sentator Elizabeth Warren also gains ground. Old white men still hang on, however.

Politico:

The latest Quinnipiac California poll shows Harris leading among 2020 presidential hopefuls, with 23 percent of California Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters now behind her — surging six points since the last Quinnipiac survey in April. Biden, at 21 percent, has lost five points in that same period.

Closely following are Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has remained static at 18 percent, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, now at 16 percent, more than doubling her 7 percent standing in April.

Canada-shaped coin issued by Royal Canadian Mint

Illustrator Alisha Giroux was drawing the map of Canada "for fun," when she noticed that its shape aligned with the shape with animals.

CBC News:

She turned Quebec into a snowy owl taking flight, and Ontario into a loon with its wings folded. British Columbia, meanwhile, became a spirit bear.

Giroux decided to design a two-colour version of her map for Canada's 150th anniversary and posted it online. About a year ago, she received a call from the mint, with an offer to have her design featured on a coin...

The coin also includes Giroux's initials just below a chickadee representing New Brunswick, something she said "hasn't quite sunk in."

The Royal Canadian Mint is now offering this 3 oz. pure silver Canada-shaped coin for $340. It's guaranteed to never fit in a vending machine.


That's Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the reverse side of the coin.

(Nag on the Lake)

The Corridor Crew give The Scorpion King a facelift

I loved The Mummy back in the day... although it hasn't held up very well.

If I were home and dying of the flu in bed, I wouldn't use the last of my strength to get up and change the channel if The Mummy Returns came on, right up to the point where the Scorpion King appears. That's some fugly VFX work. The folks from Corridor Crew agree. On one of their days off, they decided to do something about it.

Image via YouTube

When the lights went out in NYC, Broadway performed impromptu sidewalk shows

On Saturday night, a blackout darkened Manhattan's West Side for several hours. But that didn't stop cast members from several Broadway shows, and Carnegie Hall, from performing. Not in their scheduled stage performances but impromptu ones outside on the sidewalks.

The New York Times:

The electricity failed about an hour before curtain for most shows, meaning the casts and crew were already in place and audiences were on their way.

Some lucky patrons were treated to brief sidewalk songs while producers tried to figure out whether the lights might return in time to salvage Saturday night — generally the most lucrative night of the week for Broadway.

The shows got canceled, but "the show must go on," as they say:

The children's fantasy series currently dominating my family is...

Pretty much everyone of reading age, from grandparents to 11-year-olds, are reading Shannon Messenger's Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

I think a 13-year-old niece discovered these books and suggested them to my sister. My sister knew I needed a book to co-read with my kid this summer because if I do not discuss books with her chapter-by-chapter she forgets everything she just read. When I told my mother about it she already had it on hold at the library. I am certain my 15-year-old niece read the entire series in about 1 day (eight books) just so she may tell us all the problems with the plot, characters and covers.

IT IS JUST HARRY POTTER WITH ELVES, UNCLE JASON!

Another branch of the family is likely to start on this once my awesome 8-year-old nephew finishes reading the most recent Star Wars: Thrawn books.

Shannon Messenger's universe is absorbing. My daughter and I were immediately drawn into this reality where elves, goblins, and all sorts of fantasy creature are real. Evidently, ages ago, humans acted like real turds and all the magical folks decided to retreat to their own 'impossible' to find cities. Either waiting for a day when humans could be trusted or just sitting around waiting because humans never will be trustworthy, elves seem to spend all their time convincing themselves their dystopian society is a utopia. Unwilling to engage outside their slowly rotting culture, packed with class issues and bitterness, the elves fail to notice BIG TROUBLE is brewing with the humans. Until an impossible young girl shows up and turns their world on its head.

Sophie was raised by humans, but is most assuredly an elf. In a gut-wrenching turn of event young Sophie is forced to abandon her family, and as one of the bravest young characters thrust into a magical world that I've ever read about, makes some very hard and very mature decisions. Even when Sophie can't control her emotions, because she is a teenager, she is an excellent example of applying rational thought to her problems, or asking trsuted adults for help. Her friends, Biana, Fitz, Keefe, and Dex are all real-ish kid characters as well, and they way they interact and solve their problems struck me as excellent for a kid to be reading... and some adults.

I've read the first book in the series, which is available via Kindle Unlimited. Libby had a huge wait on the first few books in this series (6+ weeks) and so I am waiting for the second. I am pretty sure I'll finish the series this summer.

My daughter was assigned a Wrinkle in Time for school, so she's paused until that classic is finished.

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger via Amazon

This top-rated password manager helps keeps your logins secure

When it comes to passwords, there's no such thing as paranoia. You want them secure and complex, and you definitely don't want to repeat them on all your accounts. The trouble is, the internet seems to keep growing. And so do those accounts.

Just one lockout from an important email or banking site is enough to make anybody want to throw up their hands and just go back to using their kid's name and birthday for everything. And that's exactly what hackers are hoping. While we're equally leery of a lot of password management software, the Keeper Password Manager is emerging as a super-secure service that also happens to be easy to use.

They're also passing the smell test with sites like PC Mag (who gave them a five-star rating), not to mention the hundreds of thousands of users on the App Store and Google Play who gave them high marks. Doubtless, part of the reason has to do with the way it streamlines the process of your logins. Keeper can randomly generate rock-solid passwords for any site, then auto-fill them on any form. It can do the same with your credit card and address info, making online checkouts a breeze.

And if all that sounds like a lot of personal info to put in one place, we should mention the real strength of this service: Security. All that data gets digitally encrypted and locked down, accessible with two-factor authentication in your choice of methods: TOTP, Face ID, fingerprint, or U2F security key, just to name a few. Still not enough? You can designate five emergency contacts to share the info with in the case of an emergency.

You can even store videos, photos or other crucial files behind this digital vault, and access it across a range of mobile devices and computers.

There are a few plans on sale for the service: A one-year subscription to Keeper Password Manager is available for $19.99 (33% off the retail price), or you can get a bundle that includes that subscription plus the BreachWatch add-on that monitors the dark web for any unauthorized logins with your info. That Keeper bundle is $29.99 for one year, nearly half off the list price.

Drug smuggler busted with half a kilo of cocaine under his bad toupée

At Barcelona's international airport, police arrested a Colombian gentleman who arrived from Bogota with half a kilogram of cocaine under his toupée. According to a Reuters report, "The man attracted police attention as he looked nervous and had a disproportionately large hairpiece under his hat. They found a package stuck to his head with about €30,000 (£27,000) of cocaine."

No word whether the unnamed man is a drug bigwig.

Many of the key Googler Uprising organizers have quit, citing retaliation from senior management

The Googler Uprising was a string of employee actions within Google over a series of issues related to ethics and business practices, starting with the company's AI project for US military drones, then its secretive work on a censored/surveilling search tool for use in China; then the $80m payout to Android founder Andy Rubin after he was accused of multiple sexual assaults. (more…)

Watch CBS News coverage of the Apollo 11 moon launch from 50 years ago today

Fifty years ago today, a Saturn V rocket launched with Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins on board. On July 19, Armstrong became the first human to step onto the moon. Above is almost five hours of CBS News's coverage of the historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon. And that's the way it was.

More: "Apollo 11 launch: Watch the most memorable moments from CBS News' coverage"

Turn your drone into a flying flamethrower

Throwflame, the Ohio-based supplier of flamethrowers, announced the TF-19 WASP Flamethrower Drone Attachment designed for the DJI S1000 drone. The WASP contains a one gallon fuel tank for 100 seconds of flame with a 25-foot range. Why would you need a flamethrower, much less one that flies? According to Throwflame, here are some worthy applications:

Prescribed agricultural burns
Ground clearing
Snow and ice removal
Incinerating weeds and pesky insect hives
Pyrotechnic events and movie props
Firefighting and training
Grassland management

What could possibly go wrong?

Did the US try to weaponize ticks?

The US House passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that orders the Inspector General of the Department of Defense to "conduct a review of whether the Department of Defense experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975." The amendment was spearheaded by New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith. From CBS News:

The theory, which sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel, contends that bioweapon specialists packed ticks with pathogens that could cause severe disabilities, disease and death among potential enemies to the homeland. Smith said he was inspired to add the amendment to the annual defense bill by "a number of books and articles suggesting that significant research had been done at U.S. government facilities including Fort Detrick, Maryland and Plum Island, New York to turn ticks and other insects into bioweapons."

Those books, however, have been questioned by some experts who dismiss long-held conspiracy theories that the federal government aided the spread of tick-borne diseases, and federal agencies, including the CDC, may have participated in a cover-up of sorts to conceal findings about the spread of Lyme disease.

Here's the amendment.

image: "Chelicera of the sheep tick" by Richard Bartz (CC)

Onion becomes reality: '82-Year-Old New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell Quietly Asks Ilhan Omar If He Can Be Part Of The Squad'

1) Earlier on Tuesday, humor website The Onion ran a spoof story titled '82-Year-Old New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell Quietly Asks Ilhan Omar If He Can Be Part Of The Squad.'

2) Then, Congressman Bill Pascrell Quietly Asked Ilhan Omar If He Can Be Part Of The Squad.

3) AOC said “you're in!”

4) Speaker Nancy Pelosi, this is how it's done.

Did Donald Trump's racist tweets violate federal laws against workplace discrimination?

When President Trump said on Sunday that "'Progressive' Democratic Congresswomen" should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” was he violating federal workplace discrimination law?

We aren't lawyers and we don't know, but here's something relevant from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website, “Immigrants' Employment Rights Under Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws” —

Ethnic slurs and other verbal or physical conduct because of nationality are illegal if they are severe or pervasive and create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment, interfere with work performance, or negatively affect job opportunities. Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person's foreign accent or comments like, "Go back to where you came from, " whether made by supervisors or by co-workers.

HT: @nick_ramsey

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