Rome and the Catholic Church fighting over change tossed into the Trevi Fountain

Every year, visitors to Rome's famed Trevi Fountain toss in more than $1.7 million in coins. Historically, the Catholic charity Caritas has taken that money to help poor people. Now though, Rome mayor Virginia Raggi wants the cash for repairs to the city's infrastructure. From the BBC News:

We did not foresee this outcome," Caritas director Father Benoni Ambarus told Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference. "I still hope it will not be final."

The newspaper ran a scathing article on the move in its Saturday edition, headlined "Money taken from the poorest".

City councillors have approved the change and it is due to take place in April.

Above, the classic Trevi Fountain scene from Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), featuring Anita Ekberg.

Hungry Like The Wolf on a Solton Ketron Programmer 24

The Solton Ketron Programmer 24 is a 1985 sample-based synthesizer described as "The Italo Disco machine". They used to be on eBay, but good luck finding one nowawadays for much less than $2,000.

Hungry Like The Wolf is Duran Duran's breakthrough hit, which reached #3 in the US in 1982.

The above video is a remix of Hungry Like The Wolf performed on a Solton Ketron Programmer 24. Jump to 3:20 if you don't want to watch it being programmed.

Following is some more Programmer 24 action and a link to its dry, ripped samples. Musicians in the audience will purchase this sample pack and further reimagine the 1980s as if Giorgio Moroder was personally responsible for all of it.

Collection of old digital cameras

Old Digital Cameras is a collection of, well, old digital cameras. Models go back to 1996; pictured here is Leica's 2006 digital M3, which was obsolete within months and is now worth about a tenth of the film original.

Feel free to contact me if you wish :
- To part with your old model and give it a second life in my collection and this web site,
- Add or modify any information, or add your own comment about a model,
- Upload a user manual or a driver.

Man cleans filthy bathroom at national park, then sends Trump $28 bill

Although many national parks are still open during the longest government shutdown in US history, there is no one around to clean the increasingly filthy bathrooms. Except, perhaps, for one man, Dan Little, who found the bathroom at Mt. Hood National Forest Sno-Park in Oregon to be so disgusting, he cleaned it himself. He then sent a $28 bill to Trump. That's the spirit!

Of course, with Trump's disgraceful reputation of not paying his employees for their work, it's highly doubtful Mr. Little will get a pat on the back from the president, let alone a paycheck.

Via Mashable

Image: S.Schön/Pexels

Measles warning in Los Angeles, New York outbreak surges

Anti-vaxxers are winning the war on life. Measles outbreaks are happening with increasing frequency.

US News and World Report:

In late December, one person who was sick with the highly contagious viral infection visited several stores and restaurants in Malibu, Pasadena and Santa Monica while contagious, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Officials said there is no remaining risk in those areas, but people who may have been near the infected person should watch for any symptoms of the illness, which is spread through cough or sneeze and causes fever, red eyes and a rash. Most people who haven't been immunized will get measles if they are exposed to the virus, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said.

"If you think that you or someone you know has been exposed to or has measles, contact your healthcare provider by phone right away before going in," Dr. Muntu Davis, the county's health officer, said in a statement.

The alert comes amid a slew of measles outbreaks in recent months, nearly two decades after the disease was declared eliminated in the U.S.

New York, for example, has seen more than 160 cases since September and is experiencing what Dr. Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner, called "the largest measles outbreak that New York state has had in recent history," CNN reported.

In 2018, a total of 349 cases in 26 states and the District of Columbia were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from 120 cases in 2017. A 2015 Disneyland-linked outbreak resulted in 147 cases and prompted California to strengthen its vaccine laws for school-age children.

Health experts say roughly 95 percent of people should be vaccinated to create "herd immunity" against a contagious disease like measles, and the CDC recommends children receive their first vaccination against measles between 12 and 15 months old. In 2017, measles vaccination coverage among children 19 to 35 months old was below 90 percent in 15 states, according to the CDC.


Globally, an uptick in cases, largely due to immunization gaps, "is of serious concern," Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, a World Health Organization official, said in a statement in November. While the measles vaccine has saved 21 million lives since the turn of the century, reported cases rose more than 30 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to the WHO.

Without increased efforts to improve vaccination rates around the world, "we risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating, but entirely preventable disease," Swaminathan said.

Watch: this spectacular gymnastics performance by UCLA's Katelyn Ohashi is a perfect 10

I don't usually pay much attention to gymnastics, but this routine by 21-year-old UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi is mind blowing.

Via Uproxx:

Katelyn Ohashi is about to become a household name. The 21-year-old UCLA gymnast wowed spectators with an absolutely flawless routine at the Anaheim Arena over the weekend, which subsequently went viral when the UCLA Gymnastics ‏Twitter account tweeted video after her performance. Gymnastics ‏Twitter account tweeted video after her performance. “A 10 isn’t enough for this floor routine by Katelyn Ohashi,” the tweet correctly expressed.

Steve Albini, legendary Big Black guitarist and Nirvana engineer, is also a poker champion

If you played poker with Steve Albini -- esteemed guitarist for Big Black, Rapeman, and Shellac, recording engineer for Nirvana, Pixies, and PJ Harvey -- he would take all your money. I was surprised to learn that last year Albini won gold in the World Series of Poker. Above, a short documentary about Albini's poker prowess.

(Poker Central via Uncrate)

Hulu appears poised to win the Fyre Festival documentary race

Looks like Hulu is going to beat Netflix to market with their Fyre Festival documentary.

Two documentaries on a festival that didn't happen. I was not one-documentary interested, but Mark is making popcorn.

Hollywood Reporter:

Fyre Fraud, a documentary chronicling the lead-up and aftermath of 2017’s disastrous Fyre Festival, is airing on Hulu.

Hulu dropped the documentary, produced and distributed by The Cinemart, Hulu, Billboard and Mic, Monday morning, with no advance notice. Netflix’s competing documentary, Fyre, comes out Jan. 18.

The 96-minute Hulu doc features an exclusive, extensive post-festival interview with 25-year-old entrepreneur and Fyre Festival mastermind Billy McFarland, who is serving a six-year prison term after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges. By turns repentant and defensive, he seldom takes direct responsibility for allegedly defrauding investors out of more than $26 million, nor does he admit wrongdoing.

Dark markets have evolved to use encrypted messengers and dead-drops

Cryptocurrencies and Tor hidden services ushered in a new golden age for markets in illegal goods, especially banned or circumscribed drugs: Bitcoin was widely (and incorrectly) viewed as intrinsically anonymous, while the marketplaces themselves were significantly safer and more reliable than traditional criminal markets, and as sellers realized real savings in losses due to law enforcement and related risks, the prices of their merchandise plummeted, while their profits soared. (more…)

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