It’s been a while since we’ve heard a lot about the so-called Islamic State. Since the "defeat" of ISIS in Iraq and the majority of Syria, much of the focus in the war-torn regions of the Middle East has been on: the ongoing pissing match between the United States, Russia and Turkey in Syria, what will become of the civilians whose lives were shattered during the Syrian Civil War, hostilities between Iran and damn near everyone, Palestinian rights, and what the Israelis have cooking in regards to Gaza and the protection of their populace from a variety of aggressors.
Would you be surprised to learn that ISIS is still kind of a big deal? Because it sort of sounds like the United Nations was. According to the CBC, a report from U.N. Terrorism experts says that ISIS is still doing fine, thank you very much, boasting as many as 30,000 members stationed in Syria and Iraq. However, after multiple ass-kickings at the hands of professional and volunteer military forces across the Middle East, they’ve decided to tone things down a bit. That overt, "we're gonna build a freaking caliphate" look of theirs? SO last year. Currently, ISIS is playing it cool by conducting covert operations in its bases of operation while the terrorist group regroups and rebuilds.
From The CBC:
While many ISIS fighters, planners and commanders have been killed in fighting, and many other fighters and supporters have left the immediate conflict zone, the experts said many still remain in the two countries — some engaged militarily, "and others hiding out in sympathetic communities and urban areas."
... The flow of foreign fighters to ISIS in Syria and Iraq has come to a halt, they said, but "the reverse flow, although slower than expected, remains a serious challenge."
While the rate of terrorist attacks has fallen in Europe, the experts said some governments "assess that the underlying drivers of terrorism are all present and perhaps more acute than ever before." This suggests that any reduction in attacks is likely to be temporary until ISIS recovers and reorganizes, and al-Qaeda "increases its international terrorist activity or other organizations emerge in the terrorist arena," they said.
It’s a damn shame. A report like this from a legitimate joint like the United Nations, while no doubt accurate, will likely serve as a springboard for white nationalists, here and abroad, to launch fear-mongering, othering attacks on already vulnerable individuals seeking refuge from violent Middle Eastern and African nations. Being forced to seek safe shelter in the relative safety of Europe and North America trial enough without heaping more xenophobic bullshit on them, because of the potential actions of a few hateful, militaristic tools.
Image by Yo - Own work, Public Domain, Link
Daniel Mallory Ortberg:
A: This is not a situation where you need much of a strategy beyond “acknowledging reality.” Talk to your boyfriend. “Hey, it’s clear that this hits a really deep nerve for you, but I’m not sure why you keep bringing up your height and insisting that you’re 6 feet tall. It was obvious at the doctor’s office that you felt very strongly about hearing your height spoken aloud. What’s going on?” If he wants to talk about his feelings about his height with you, that’s going to be a lot more useful to him than pretending he’s 4 inches taller for the rest of his life.
Ah, but what do to when your 5'11" president insists he is 6'3"?
Trudeau, you see, is standing taller than Trump. Which is difficult to explain when Trudeau is 6″2, and Trump claims to be 6″3. At least, that figure is according to Trump’s physical exam results which were released in January this year by the White House doctor. Other than his lack of exercise, love of junk food and obsession with Diet Coke, Trump was declared to be overall in “excellent health”.
Now, critics are suggesting Trump overestimated his height so his Body Mass Index would be conveniently classified as “overweight”, not “obese”.
White House Photo.
Hotel safes with keypad combinations have become a staple in a certain level of hotel room, but if the administrative override code was not changed from the factory settings, it's incredibly easy to open one. (more…)
We've all used Excel at some point in our careers, but chances are most of us have only scratched the surface of what this ubiquitous program can do. From automating simple tasks to presenting data through beautiful charts and PivotTables, Excel brings a ton of utility to the table that can make a huge impact in virtually any workspace. The Essential Microsoft Excel Lifetime Bundle can show you the ropes, and it's on sale for $9.99 in the Boing Boing store.
Comprised of three critical courses, this collection takes you from the Excel basics to more advanced concepts, like data analysis and visualizing information with PivotTables. You'll start by learning how to work more efficiently with keyboard shortcuts and quick editing tools. Then you'll explore Excel's analytics potential as you sort, analyze, and present data more efficiently with PivotTables.
The Essential Microsoft Excel Lifetime Bundle retails for $541, but it's on sale in the Boing Boing store for $9.99 today.
Alex Jones is temporarily suspended from Twitter, but is openly boasting about simply switching to his other account to personally evade the weeklong ban—having called upon his supporters to arm themselves with "battle rifles."
The BBC understands that Twitter judged this to be a violation of its rules against abusive behaviour.
The restriction appears to only be effective against the @RealAlexJones account, which has 890,000 followers.
Mr Jones has since posted a video in which he discusses the move to a separate @Infowars feed - with about 431,000 followers - which he described as being a "sub-account".
The special consideration being given to this guy hints at an iceberg's underwater volume. Twitter's had to admit he broke the rules they said he hadn't broken, had to admit that it wouldn't ban him despite saying it would if he broke the rules, and had to endure the public spectacle of its own CEO sanctimoniously lecturing the public about free speech and getting pantsed for it by Kara Swisher in the New York Times. And now it's issuing a temporary suspension, cut just for Alex Jones.
Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over the candlestick.
Silly boy, shoulda jumped higher,
Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!
FOR THE KIDS IN YOUR LIFE, AND THEIR SUMMER READING: Get Ruben Bolling’s hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures.
"The EMU Club inhabits exactly the world I always hoped to live in when I was 12, when the answer to questions like 'Where did I put my toy' led inevitably to alien conspiracies and secret underground tunnels. A book for the curious and adventurous!" -Cory Doctorow, author of "For the Win" and "Little Brother"
"The type of non-stop action and improbably hilarious fun that only a kid could dream up. ... The EMU Club's adventures perfectly capture the intersection of imagination and wonder - the crossroad that's so often found in cardboard boxes, pillow forts and backyards everywhere." -GeekDad
Get Book the First, "Alien Invasion in My Backyard," here.
Get Book the Second, "Ghostly Thief of Time," here.
RESIST!! The temptation to not join Tom the Dancing Bug's INNER HIVE!
More Tom the Dancing Bug comics on Boing Boing!
Tierra Whack created an album where each song's video can be published as an Instagram post. Watch Whack World in its entirety here. (more…)
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders won't deny the existence of a tape of Trump using the worst racial slur. Trump's former aide Omarosa Manigault had released a recording of another aide plainly discussing the fact of its existence.
"I can tell you that I've never heard it. I can also tell you that if myself, or the people that are in this building serving this country every single day, doing our very best to help people all across this country and make it better -- if at any point we felt that the president was who some of his critics claim him to be, we certainly wouldn't be here."
As usual, everyone thinks this will destroy him. It's more likely to normalize the word again for all the white people who use it under their breath anyway, and in no time at all we'll have articles at The Atlantic about how decades of political correctness denied America its most powerful and politically expressive language.
Plastic Jesus, the Los Angeles-based street artist behind the "Future Internment Camp" signs and other cool stunts, is back with a new piece. For his latest work, he's droplifted specially-tagged bulletproof vests in the kids' back-to-school section of three Target stores and one Macy’s in Los Angeles.
“Back to school” get everything you need for the new year. Including ‘Bullet Proof Kids™️- Level 3A bullet proof vests. By Plastic Jesus industries . This one at Target . Los Angeles. “Show your child how much you care... Don’t let your child be the next victim... money back guarantee... endorsed by the NRA” Coming to a store near you.
And in Newsweek, he's quoted as saying:
“Good visual communication has to engage people, not switch them off or horrify them. This might be a potential reality. We might be sending our kids to school like this...
We’re finding so many excuses to validate these shooters. Things like video games or bad families are being used to excuse their actions. Seeing shootings so normalized is abhorrent."
“We’re finding so many excuses to validate these shooters. Things like video games or bad families are being used to excuse their actions. Seeing shootings so normalized is abhorrent.”
photos by Plastic Jesus
The last time former Journey frontman Steve Perry released a solo album, Bill Clinton was President, True Lies was #1 at the box office and Major League Baseball was a month away from going on strike. After 24 long years, the wait is over. Perry announced his new album, Traces, on his new website and explained the reason for his return.
“Years ago, I disappeared. There were many reasons, but mainly my love for music had suddenly left me. I knew that simply stopping, was what I had to do if music was ever to return to my heart. Then and only then I would figure out what to do. If not… so be it For I had already lived the dream of dreams. Many years passed. One day, I began sketching some musical ideas with the creative freedom that I was the only one who would ever hear them. One song led to many. My love of music had returned. Then another beautiful thing happened. I found love.
My precious Kellie gave me a life I never knew I had. I lost her December of 2012. I now deeply understand the meaning of ‘It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.’ May of 2015, I began recording. These are special to me. I respectfully ask that you listen to them and whatever they make you feel. Thank you for listening.”
Traces will be released on October 10th. The video for the first single off the album, "No Erasin," was dropped at midnight. Welcome back, Steve!
[Photo: Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]
Alice Potts engages in what she calls "human body design," creating bioplastics by soaking materials in body fluids to embed them with crystals. (more…)
Steve Roe is a street photographer who specializes in stylized shots of Asian cities at night. He's been experimenting with some crowdfunded fractal lenses that add neat effects. (more…)
In January 2015 Alex Jones said on a video that "Sandy Hook is a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors. I mean they even ended up using photos of kids killed in mass shootings here in a fake mass shooting in Turkey -- so yeah, or Pakistan. The sky is now the limit."
In December 2014, Jones claimed that the mass shooting was "a giant hoax."
Today, Alex Jones posted a threat to the parents of Sandy Hook who dare to repeat what Jones has said: "At a certain point," he says, "do cease and desist letters have to go out? With a letter and videos and everything so it's all on record? ... You see, *I'm* the one whose under assault, *I'm* the one whose being misrepresented."
Little Pyongyang made the festival rounds and his been picked up by The Guardian. It tells the story of how one soldier made his way to Europe's largest community of North Korean nationals after escaping the brutal regime.
Joong-wha Choi, a former soldier in North Korea, lives today with his wife and children in a sleepy London suburb, home to Europe's biggest North Korean population. Despite enjoying the new found comforts of his British life, and being emancipated from the pressures of the North Korean state, he has a desire to return to the land that betrayed him, and feels like his true home. Joong-wha reflects on both why he left North Korea and the state of his day to day life over the course of several months, in a portrait of loss, longing, and the complexities of healing from trauma.
Here's a nice Q&A with the filmmakers
• Little Pyongyang (YouTube / The Guardian)
NYPD officer Michael Reynolds is under investigation after allegedly breaking into a Nashville home and drunkenly terrorizing its occupants, threatening youngsters and shouting racial slurs. He thought it was his AirBnB, supposedly.
Surveillance video, obtained by Eyewitness News from ABC affiliate WGRB, captures a man's voice shouting, "Try to shoot me, I'll break every bone in your F****** neck. You F****** N******."
A Nashville police report described the suspect as a white male, with buzzed blond hair and blue eyes.
Witness statements logged in the report further described the suspect as "heavily intoxicated and disoriented."
A mistake anyone could make.
Disney is being sued by the Michael Jackson estate for using fair-use clips in a biopic called "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" -- in its brief, the company decries "overzealous copyright holders" whose unwillingness to consider fair use harms "the right of free speech under the First Amendment."
Qanon (previously) is an eye-wateringly stupid far-right conspiracy theory whose proponents spend hours trying to decode alleged ciphertexts created by the cult's leader or leaders.
Dan Gillmor (previously) writes that journalism is at a crisis point, as authoritarian politicians (including, but not limited to, Trump) step up their attacks on the free press, even assassinating their sharpest critics.
For dinner, the Varchetti family ordered a pepperoni pizza from Hungry Howie’s.
When the 18 year old delivery man arrived at their home, he gave them the pizza, saw the piano in the foyer, and asked if he could play it.
For the next ninety seconds, he played the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata from memory.
Mariano Pascual has created a delightful nod to classic desktop layouts for his new site, but it's updated with all kinds of colorful bells, whistles, and Easter eggs. (more…)