Footage of Dobby the house-elf from Harry Potter caught on home security cam video

Vivian Gomez posted the above home security cam video to her Facebook page. She writes:

"So I woke up Sunday morning and saw this on my camera and am trying to figure out...what the heck?? First I saw the shadow walking from my front door then I saw this thing....has anyone else seen this on their cameras?? The other two cameras didn’t pick it up for some reason."

Internet commenters insist that the mysterious creature is Dobby the house-elf from Harry Potter, but following Occam's razor, the simplest explanation is that it is an extraterrestrial.

Latest fatberg news

Two "giant" fatbergs were removed last week from the sewers of St. Andrews, Scotland, reports the BBC. 20 tonnes (22 tons) of congealed grease, sewage and toilet paper had to be broken down, and Fife authorities embarked upon an educational campaign to get locals to stop pouring cooking fat down the drain.


Mike Will, waste water operations general manager at Scottish Water, said that businesses had collectively spent about £500,000 fitting new grease trapping equipment.

Philip Soden, managing director of ECAS, added: "Most people simply didn't realise their own actions could potentially lead to sewer flooding, causing irreparable damage to their own community.

A fatberg near Cincinatti caused an overflow, report local media, with "odor and discoloration" shutting down Winston Lake.

The overflow in Winton Woods was caused by a so-called fatberg, a large, solid blockage that forms inside a sewer system. This one was made of grease, wipes and other waste that wedged into spaces between tree roots, clogging the sewer. The fatberg was about 15 inches in diameter and 2 feet wide.

Valencia, Spain, became home to a fatberg that sent sewer workers on a nightmare operation compared by Valencia Plaza (English, ish) to the movie "Alien."

It all started one day when they realized that "something was not working well," says [Sanitation Engineer Jesus] Ceniceros. During the routine review mentioned they discovered that "there was a sewage relief to the old Turia channel" from this collector. It did not make sense, since these reliefs can only occur in case of heavy rains and that was not the case. They had to get close to see what was happening. The gymkhana started.

Like the navigators of the Nostromo in Alien, the first technicians came down convinced that they were going to find a minor enemy. Thus, Espinosa, of Acciona Agua València, explains that they believed that it was "an obstruction of a secondary collector". They were wrong. "The problem was of a size ... considerable" laughs Espinosa. And his smile is nervous, like that of war veterans.

The strange "No Frills" series of totally generic genre fiction books from the 1980s

The "No Frills" series was a collection of genre fiction paperbacks published by Jove Publishing in 1981 with plain covers, no author names, and maximally pulp plots. From Weird Universe:

Terry Bisson, who was one of the instigators of this project, reports:

Mystery was written by Clark Dimond, a men's mag editor/writer who also wrote for comics.
The Romance was written by Judy Coyne (former Glamour mag editor) nee Wederholt
The SF was written by John Silbersack, SF editor and now an agent.
The Western was by Vic Milan (SF author)
We were working on a No-Frills Besteller (by me) and
A No-Frills movie (by film critic David Ansen) when the series was dropped.
My partner selling the series was Lou Rosetto who went on to found WIRED magazine.

"No Frills Books" (Weird Universe)

More at this old post on Bill Crider's blog: "Forgotten Books -- Mystery"

Wild design for incredible infinity pool that takes up entire roof of skyscraper

Infinity London is a planned 220-meter skyscraper topped with a wild infinity pool that completely covers the roof. There's a new video explainer from the designer below, but let's quickly answer the obvious question of how one gets in and out of the pool.

“The solution is based on the door of a submarine, coupled with a rotating spiral staircase which rises from the pool floor when someone wants to get in or out – the absolute cutting edge of swimming pool and building design and a little bit James Bond to boot!" says designer Alex Kemsley.

The details of who will pay for the building and exactly where in London it'll be located "is yet to be confirmed."

From Compass Pools:

The pool is made from cast acrylic rather than glass, as this material transmits light at a similar wavelength to water so that the pool will look perfectly clear.

The floor of the pool is also transparent, allowing visitors to see the swimmers and sky above...

Other advanced technical features include a built-in anemometer to monitor the wind speed.

This is linked to a computer-controlled building management system to ensure the pool stays at the right temperature and water doesn’t get blown down to the streets below.

Boasting an innovative twist on renewable energy, the pool’s heating system will use waste energy from the air condition system for the building.

Announcing: the tour for "How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems," Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book

[Randall Munroe traces the phenomenal success of his webcomic XKCD with this Boing Boing post; and I've avidly followed his career ever since (he's returned the favor), so I was delighted to learn in February that he had a new book coming out and I'm more delighted still to host the official announcement of his tour, which you can book extra dates for (see below) -Cory] (more…)

Video released of jail officers beating up a strapped-down inmate

Two officers at Cuyahoga Country Jail were filmed beating up a man strapped into to a restraint chair, and the video was released to the media. Nicholas Evans and Timothy Dugan are each charged with felonious assault, unlawful restraint, and interfering with civil rights. Evans also tampered with the evidence, prosecutors say, when he turned off his bodycam to prevent it recording the beating.

wall camera footage was released to News 5 – it clearly shows both officers punching the inmate repeatedly in the head as he sits in a restraint chair with both his arms bound with his mouth covered. The video shows the officers speaking to the inmate, but audio was not recorded.

The indictments allege that Evans and Dugan left the inmate in the restraint chair for over two hours after beating him, instead of immediately transporting him to medical.

Be warned: the video depicts a brutal attack on a man who cannot even raise his hands to shield his face. The machine-vision quality mades it particularly disturbing.

Things to make with cement

The 5-Minute Crafts youtube channel offers 35 wonderful uses for cement. You can put cement in novelty ice cube trays to make cement sticks. You can submerge books in cement to make beautiful, useful cement books. You can pour it into coke bottles or light bulbs to make unique home accouterments. Or into plastic bags, to create... gnome heads? Imagine a crowd of happy young people leaping together on a grassy hillside, captured aloft in a free-frame moment, arms high and smiles broad, a chorus crying out in joy: "Cement!" [via Metafilter]

Grocer designed embarrassing plastic bags to shame shoppers into bringing reusable ones

East West Market in Vancouver, B.C. had a terrific idea to get people to start bringing their own reusable shopping bags: design plastic bags with messages too embarrassing to carry. Unfortunately, while hilarious, it's backfiring. They made them too good and now everyone wants a set of them! Collect all three: the Colon Care Co-op, Into The Weird Adult Video Emporium, and Dr. Toews' Wart Ointment Wholesale.

(Funny Or Die)

On Grenfell's second anniversary, 60,000 Britons are still living in firetraps clad in the same deadly, decorative materials

It's been two years since the Grenfell tower block in north Kensington burned, killing at least 72 people: the blaze revealed deep corruption and indifference among Britain's richest people and the millionaire Conservative politicians who do their business in Parliament, from the fact that the highly flammable cladding responsible for the blaze was added so that the building would be more attractive to rich people in nearby luxury tower blocks, to the fact that the fire came five years after Tory PM David Cameron declared war on "safety culture" to the fact that Tory politicians (overwhelming landlords themselves) had voted down a bill to require landlords to ensure that the properties they rented were safe and "fit for human habitation", to the fact that local Tory councillors had deliberately chosen a more fire-prone cladding to save 5.7% on the cost of materials -- the same local government that forced Grenfell survivors to bid against each other for new homes and then paid the same company that installed the flammable cladding to replace it. (more…)

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