Watch this incredible skateboarder who has no legs

Brazilian skateboarder Felipe Nunes, 20, is on the cover of this month's Thrasher magazine. He just joined Tony Hawk's elite Birdhouse squad. He also has no legs. Nunes lost them in an accident when he was six years old. From Thrasher:

What did it take to get back to where you were mobile again? Were you in a wheelchair at first? What were the biggest challenges to regaining your movement and independence?

I was six when it happened but the doctors said it was super fast. I didn’t really hesitate because I was so young. I used a wheelchair until about the age of 11. I was a kid who wanted to do everything. Regardless of not having two legs I wanted to do it all. I rode my bike, played soccer, pretty much everything out in front of my house. I was a normal kid. It didn’t even look like I was missing part of my legs. My parents were essential in my recovery because they never stopped me from doing anything. They were afraid of me getting hurt like any parents, but they never held me back. When I wanted to give up the wheelchair and ride the skateboard full time, they let me go.

In Kansas's poor, sick places, hospitals and debt collectors send the ailing to debtor's prison

Kansas is a living laboratory for far-right experimentation with extreme economic cruelty: a state where Medicare expansions were thwarted, where xenophobia has penetrated the state bureaucracy, where a grifty, incompetent lawyer has apologized for slavery and driven women out of his own party, even as neighboring states thrive by tending to the needs of working people, rather than the super-rich. (more…)

YouTuber, iced out of monetization, looks to China

Bart Baker is a YouTuber who specialized in vulgar videos and pop-star parodies, but his income withered when the site demonetized all the horrible things we didn't realize our kids were watching. So he's abandoning his 10m subscribers there to focus on conquering Chinese social media instead. Baker's even learned enough of the langage to pander to its nationalist vanities and bottomless consumerism, which Vice highlights in this 7-minute interview.

Now, Bart’s days start with live chat and song sessions with his millions of Chinese followers on Kwai, a Chinese social media app. Then, his Chinese manager sends him a Chinese song, which Bart translates into English, with the help of Google Translate. Hours later, Bart’s English version of the track is burning up the top ranks in Douyin (China’s version of TikTok).

Bart sees immense potential in the Chinese market, and has already announced that he is quitting YouTube. Meanwhile, his Chinese manager is concerned that Bart’s American persona could be trouble in China, if it isn’t properly handled.

I liked his boss in Shanghai, who knows two things: that westerners who can speak Chinese are a media gold mine, but also that it's likely
they will eventually utter something offensive to Chinese authorities and get everyone involved in trouble.

Right now Americans are fascinated (and appalled) by how quickly the progressive ethics of large corporations (Apple, the NBA and Activision-Blizzard) are being switched off by Chinese power and money. But Baker is a sign of what's to come: American kids blathering in machine-translated Mandarin about the superiority of China, happy to humilate themselves for a little money and fleeting attention.

The amazing career of Ferdinand Demara, "The Great Impostor"

Ferdinand Demara earned his reputation as the Great Impostor: For over 22 years he criss-crossed the country, posing as everything from an auditor to a zoologist and stealing a succession of identities to fool his employers. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll review Demara's motivation, morality, and techniques -- and the charismatic spell he seemed to cast over others.

We'll also make Big Ben strike 13 and puzzle over a movie watcher's cat.

Show notes

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30 minutes of whetstone sharpening tips

I have a whetstone, faucet and a knife, but never quite get the results I want. So Cook with E's guide to using them ("the only time I've ever seriously hurt myself in the kitchen was using a dull knife") has sent me right back to the kitchen.

Ethan recommends a fancy japanese model, but I have a less expensive Whetstone-brand stone [Amazon, but I got it from Williams-Sonoma] with both 400 and 1000 grit sides.

David Bowie could have played Rorschach in Terry Gilliam's "Watchmen" adaptation

Five years after giving his supposedly-last interview, the Great Wizard of Northampton Alan Moore has once again deigned to allow someone to record a conversation with him for public consumption. This time, it's part of Paperback Writers: Graphic Content, a new BBC series where comic book writers discuss their musical influences.

Moore is surprisingly delightful over the course of the two-hour interview-slash-DJ-session, sharing great songs alongside tidbits from his life. He talks a bit about the end of his comic book career, as well as his upcoming work in opera and film. In a rare instance, he also talks briefly about adaptations of his work. Not the upcoming HBO TV sequel-adaptation of Watchmen, of course—rather, Terry Gilliam's attempted adaptation during the late 1980s. Moore says:

I did hear that when Terry Gilliam was supposed to be doing Watchmen back in the 1980s. I remember he told me that he’d had a number of phone calls from David Bowie asking to play the Rorschach character. There’s an alternate world we can only imagine.

As if I needed any more proof that we're living in a divergent Hellworld that splintered off the main timeline after Bowie's death. Now I'll be cursed with dreams of another, even better world where Bowie played Rorschach in a Joel Silver-produced Terry Gilliam movie penned by Gilliam's Brazil co-writing partner, Charles McKeown. (Okay so maybe that Joel Silver part still would ruined it.)

You can listen to Moore's two-hour BBC interview here. And speaking of superheroes and Bowie, this week also marks the 42nd anniversary of Bowie's Heroes album, which you should probably listen to, too.

(Top image from Fred Romero on Flickr and Libby Arnold on Flickr)

NASA videos on the harshness of space and a cool new space suit for exploring the Moon

We're going back out there, but it's dangerous out there and y'all better know it.

Space travel is hard and unforgiving, but we have never been more ready to meet the unknown.

Team members from NASA’s #Artemis program share the risks and rewards of this next era of exploration. Artemis will push the boundaries of human exploration and send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, preparing for missions to Mars and beyond.

SO. How about an awesome new space suit for exploring the polar south pole?

At NASA Headquarters on Oct. 15, 2019, Administrator Jim Bridenstine introduced the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) and Orion Crew Survival System suit which will be will be worn by first woman and next man as they explore the Moon as part of the #Artemis program.

Mating season for Bay Area tarantulas just got longer

Extra-horny spiders is yet-another unexpected consequence of climate change. The warmer-than-usual weather has prolonged the male tarantula's annual mass booty crawl—and, by extension, their lives.

The typical mating season for male tarantulas in the Bay Area runs from August to early October. They reach that tender age of 4-7 years old, molt their hairy husks for a shiny new shell (including a fresh set of "nuptial hooks"), then head out on the prowl, do the humpty dance, and die. "They’re not returning home," Cameron Morrison, supervising state park peace officer for Mount Diablo State Park, told ABC. Mount Diablo is home to a large tarantula population, and a popular tourist destination who are really into sexy tarantula voyeurism. "That’s their final voyage, basically."

Government officials have been warning the public about the possibly-jarring sight of thousands of tarantulas searching for a mate. But not because they're dangerous to humans; in fact, it's the other way around. Although their bites do sting—they are quite large, after all—their poison is harmless to humans, and they're only really likely to bite if they feel threatened.  "Hollywood and the media have made tarantulas seem monstrous, so to many people these slow-moving spiders appear ominous and threatening," explains the Mount Diablo State Park website. Nothing is farther from the truth; they are truly one of the gentle giants of the animal world."

So if you see 'em, leave 'em alone while they get it on. Consider it a Halloween blessing.

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Bay Area Blonde Tarantula - As I was going for my DSLR shots... a family drove by, saw what I had, and pulled over to check out the Tarantula. Husband, wife, and four children. The husband said they had been driving around hoping to see one most of the day. Although they were a little weary at first, I assured them the spider was harmless as long as they didn’t try to grab or frighten it. Then, I stood back and photographed the family’s experience as they passed the docile creature around to each other. Struck with fascination…😊 it was really cool #BayAreaBlondTarantula #fieldherping #herping #fieldherpingphotography #CaliforniaTarantula #Marriage #TarantulaPhotography #NaturePhotography #CaliforniaWildlifePhotography #SearchingForLove #TarantulaMigration #AimlesslySearchingForLove

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Late September, early October is mating season for the BAY AREA BLOND TARANTULA. Around this time, you will see the males blond tarantulas out, wondering around looking for females. I caught this big guy out looking for a date. lol 😎🕷🕷🕷 #trapnature #thesnakemanofeastoakland #snakemanofeastoakland #bayareablondtarantula #blondtarantula #californiatarantula #tarantula #tarantulasofinstagram

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(Top image via Flickr)

Save up to 52% on these Smart TVs and enter to win a lifetime of Netflix

Get ready for the stream of your dreams, binge-watchers. There's a contest afoot, and at stake is a lifetime subscription to Netflix.

All you have to do is sign up, and you're entered to win this ultimate Netflix plan. When does it expire? Only when you do.

And hey, just in case you need something to watch all that TV on, here are some of the best deals currently going on smart TVs. It's hard to beat "free," but you can still take hundreds off of these home theater units.

VIZIO SmartCast™ E-series 60" Ultra HD Home Theater Display™

 

The active LED zones on this 60" TV automatically adjust to backlighting to provide the best possible picture, and in UltraHD, that's plenty impressive. You can also stream content from your handheld devices or use them as remotes thanks to the SmartCast app. Take 20% off the MSRP on the E-Series today.

LG B8 Series 55" OLED 4K HDR Smart TV

 

One of Consumer Reports' best TVs of 2018 comes with an α7 intelligent processor and LG ThinQ® AI, both of which combine to maximize every pixel of its 4K resolution. Add Dolby Atmos® and you're talking about cinema-quality movie night, every night. The B8 Series has dropped from the previous sale price of $1553.99 to more than half off of the original cost.

VIZIO E-Series™ 50" Class 4K HDR Smart TV

This home theater screen has plenty of bells and whistles, from Google and Amazon voice assistant compatibility to 10 dimming zones that adjust the backlighting dynamically to match the action onscreen. Get yours for 8% off the retail price today.

VIZIO D-Series 50" Ultra HD Full-Array LED Smart TV

Whatever your preferred streaming service, the D-Series makes it easy. Regular HD content gets upscaled to full UHDon this 50" screen, while multi-screen viewing lets you watch two apps at once. The VIZIO D-Series is now on sale for a 14% discount.

The Washington Post food critic wore a hilarious disguise for a live interview

Longtime Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema participated in a live interview at the Washington Post food lab. Within minutes, his fake mustache was falling off.

Questions answered included which restaurant didn't deserve the stars awarded by Michelin (Plume at the Jefferson Hotel), how to get credit cards under a fake name (avoid too many questions by paying promptly), and how he got his job (the food critic at the time hired him, and Bob Woodward did not).

Screensavers VR lets you explore classic screensavers in virtual reality

Screensavers VR is out this week and will let you explore classic screensavers.  I can't vouch for the "gameplay," but I learned I am powerfully nostalgic for 3D Pipes:

Plunge your body into five screensavers inspired by the classics, and experience their evolution.

Physically manipulate digital worlds! Explore each micro-universe through wild parameters and VR-only effects like scale.

Kick back in the semi-authentic 90's office-den simulation and read original writing about the screensaver phenomenon.

Warp through stars like never before! Experience and endless starfield in HD!
Can you reach the end of M A Z E?

Pipes are so real, you’ll swear you hit your head.

Check out the trailer to see if your favorite made the cut:

Florida Man is back and he's packing a sword

There are few things that you can rely upon these days: the love of your friends and family; that our leaders lie to us in the name of profit and, constant like the North Star, that Florida will always be the weird shit capitol of North America.

From Canoe.com:

Curtis Miller, 54, was arrested Monday on second-degree attempted murder charges stemming from a July 15 incident where he allegedly brandished a samurai sword to threaten a jogger during a fight over a wheelbarrow the victim claimed he found in a trash pile.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office released surveillance video which shows the suspect attacking the jogger, Todd Beavers, with a sword in Oakland Park, Fla., as he tried to pull the wheelbarrow away from him.

According to Canoe, Miller and Beavers both spotted the discarded wheelbarrow at the same time. Miller felt the cart should be his. So did Beaver. Miller didn't grab the cart. Beaver did. As you know, disagreements over trash found at the side of road can get out of hand pretty quickly. So, honestly, Beaver shouldn't have been surprised to find that, as he rolled the wheelbarrow home with him, Miller would give chase with a big frigging sword in hand. Beaver ran faster. Miller gave pursuit.

As the Broward County Sheriff’s Office mentioned, there's video of the incident. This would be it:

As you can see, Miller totally went all in attacking Beaver with a flurry of awkward slashes, because wheelbarrow. When it was pointed out to Miller that he was on camera, the swordsman buggered right off, giving Beaver the time to call the cops.

The best bit out of all of this? The owner of the wheelbarrow, who can be seen at the end of the video swooping in to retrieve it, said the damn thing wasn't up for grabs at all. Rather, it was stolen from her home while she was having a garage sale.

Whether or not Beaver or Miller will be charged for the theft of the wheelbarrow remains unclear.

Image via Wikipedia

Hook up to clean energy with this digital power company

There's overwhelming support for clean energy, and the planet is giving us more reasons to invest in renewable power sources with every passing year. Even in the most inhospitable areas, wind and solar can provide a good chunk of our power, if not all of it. So why aren't we all taking advantage of it?

As with most things in our society, it takes a good business plan. And Arcadia Power might just have one.

Simply put, they do the legwork of finding renewable energy sources in your area. They then serve as a middleman between you and your existing power company, negotiating prices based on the sources they find and purchasing energy certificates by proxy.

Not only will this result in a better environment and more peace of mind on your part, but it can also actually save you money. In many cases, that clean power is cheaper, and Arcadia will pass the savings on to you, letting you know how much you've saved each month and how much of your power bill went to green, planet-wise sources.

The more members Arcadia gets, the more collective bargaining power they have. As if you needed a bigger hint, sign up is easy - in a matter of minutes you can have your own account, keep your existing power company and get a $20 Amazon gift card or four standard LED bulbs as a bonus.

Advice from these dope-smoking lawyers is useful for non-stoners, too

The Pot Brothers at Law are California attorneys who specialize in defending people arrested on cannabis charges. They have a YouTube channel where they offer short video tips, usually a variation of the cardinal rules of interacting with cops: shut the fuck up, never consent, and don't interfere.

In this video, the Pot Brothers want you to know that the smell of marijuana in California doesn't constitute probable cause. If a cop smells weed and asks you about it, say "I'm not discussing my day." Period.

Image: YouTube

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