Good deal on Anker's workhorse portable charger

Anker's excellent Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 usually costs $56 on Amazon, but today it's a Gold Box deal on sale for $42. It can fully recharge an iPhone 7 seven times, and can charge two USB devices at once. It can even charge the power-hungry Nintendo Switch. I gave one to my nephew and he said it can charge his Switch even while he's playing it. (If you're looking for smaller less expensive battery that will charge the Switch, consider the $29 Anker PowerCore 13000.)

Burning Man ticket program gives cancer patients or survivors a chance to go to the desert

My pal Aaron Muszalski has just announced Burning Wish, a wonderful new nonprofit that grants Burning Man tickets to cancer patients or survivors. He writes:

Do you know a cancer patient or survivor who’s always wanted to go to Burning Man?

🔥 We’re especially looking for first-time burners who’ve already decided to attend this year, but still need tickets. 🔥

Refer a friend or apply yourself at

Burning Man isn’t for everyone — the event takes place in the Nevada desert, where temperatures can exceed 100° F — but there are ways to minimize many of those challenges. For patients who are physically well enough to make the trip, the experience can be incredibly transformative and empowering.

My name is Aaron Muszalski. I’m a longtime burner and recent cancer survivor. Attending Burning Man during my treatment gave me the strength I needed to successfully complete chemotherapy. I’m now NED (“No Evidence of Disease”) and want to share the magic of Black Rock City with others facing this disease.

Burning Wish’s mission is to help connect fellow cancer patients and their loved ones with the resources they need to experience the burn safely — medically AND emotionally.

We’re also looking for volunteers. If you’d like to support this project in any way please tell us more about yourself at

Sacha Baron Cohen convinces pro-gun activist to bite a dildo on his show

In the Showtime series, Who Is America?, Sacha Baron Cohen convinces far-right leaders and activists to do silly things. He got Dick Cheney to sign a waterboard, Joe Arpaio to say he'd accept a blow job from Trump, and GOP lawmaker Jason Spencer to pull down his pants and yell the N-word. In the latest episode, he convinced pro-gun activist Dan Roberts that the best strategy to prevent yourself from being beheaded was by biting the would-be executioner's penis. Roberts enthusiastically tried out the tactic on Cohen, who wore a strap on dildo.

Fancy high-tech water gun isn't for child's play

Tired of ordinary, janky water guns?

Well, inventor Sebastian Walter of Munich, Germany has made something for you. He's shaking up the water gun industry with his high-tech Spyra One. He and his team's $133 water gun isn't exactly for child's play though.

The Verge:

The Spyra One doesn’t shoot a stream of water; it shoots precisely measured bursts of “water bullets” that the company claims can clearly and accurately hit targets up to 25 feet away.

There’s an integrated pump that lets you refill the tank just by dunking the front of the Spyra One into a pool, lake, or bucket of water. It takes about 14 seconds to refill. There’s no pumping, either. That same pump keeps the tank pressurized so you’re able to start spraying water. But things get truly ridiculous with my favorite feature: a display that features a digital ammo counter that feels more at home on a futuristic rifle from Halo than an actual water gun.

...the Spyra One also features a rechargeable battery, which the company says should last for around 45 fill cycles before you’ll need to recharge.

When you do need to juice up the Spyra One, you’ll do so by plugging in a — wait, that can’t be right — a standard USB-C cable...

The Spyra One isn't available in stores, only through Kickstarter. So far, over 2,000 backers are willing to wait until August 2019 (or longer) for their fancy high-tech water gun, well surpassing the original $58,050 goal.

Thanks, Mike!

Stephen Miller's uncle: "My nephew is an immigration hypocrite

Dr. David S. Glosser is a retired neuropsychologist. His nephew is Stephen Miller, Trump's immigration policy advisor. In an essay published in Politico today, Glosser writes, "If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out."

I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.

I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants— been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom. The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the “America First” nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees. Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family would likely have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.

Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Listen to Death Cab for Cutie's new album "Thank You For Today"

Death Cab for Cutie release their new album, "Thank You For Today," on Friday and right now NPR is streaming the whole thing. It's a gorgeous, cohesive, and fresh collection of soulful songs brought to life with startling arrangements and dazzling production. I'm proud of my friends. Have a listen!

"First Listen: Death Cab For Cutie, 'Thank You For Today'" (NPR)

And in case you missed it, below is the video for the first single from the album, "Gold Rush," featuring a sample of Yoko Ono's "Mindtrain."

22-year-old Bitcoin millionaire scammed out of $35 million

A famous 27-year-old Thai actor was arrested after a 22-year-old Finnish millionaire complained that the actor had bilked him out of 5,564 bitcoin (worth $35 million) in an investment scam. Jiratpisit "Boom" Jaravijit, 27, was filming a movie when police took him to jail.

The Finnish millionaire, Aarni Otava Saarimaa, said Boom approached him with an opportunity to invest in a stake in a Macau casino that accepted a cryptocurrency called Dragoncoin. Saarimaa handed over his Bitcoin and waited for that sweet, sweet Dragoncoin to start pouring in. But Boom suddenly went silent, and the promise of casino-derived lucre never materialized.

Saarimaa went to the Thai police, who turned the case over to its Crime Suppression Division (CSD), which investigated and found that Boom, his brother (who has an existing warrant on an unrelated embezzlement charge), his sister, and two other people who are members of a Thai gang had simply converted the bitcoin into local currency and deposited it into their personal bank accounts. Boom is out on bail, but police are hunting for his siblings. Boom's elder brother, whom the CSD suspects is the ringleader of the scam, is thought to be hiding out in the United States.

Image: phanurak rubpol/Shutterstock

Robot that ties shoes

Limited to two motors and $600, mechanical engineering students from the University of California, Davis designed and built this shoe-tying machine. I particularly appreciate how the robot uses the same technique as I do: the bunny ears method.

Alex Jones tries to use Vimeo to host his videos, but Vimeo dumps him

Now that Facebook and YouTube have dumped Infowars for its hate campaign against the parents of children murdered in the Sandy Hook mass shooting, Infowars Alex Jones is looking for other places to host his sickening videos. One of those other places was Vimeo, but it wants nothing to do with the self-aggrandizing sicko.

From Daily Beast:

Infowars didn’t have much of a presence on Vimeo before last week but posted over 50 new videos on Thursday and Friday. The videos were manually removed by Vimeo’s Trust and Safety Team because they “violated our Terms of Service prohibitions on discriminatory and hateful content,” a spokesperson told Business Insider, adding that the company didn’t want to profit from Infowars content.

Artist didn't realize his painting was inspired by a parasitic worm in his eye

Ben Taylor, a 47-year-old artist, was inspired to paint a trippy, colorful circle filled with abstract worm-like patterns. He never finished the work. Years later, Taylor identified the subconscious inspiration for the painting: a 1" African parasitic worm called a Loa loa that he didn't know had taken up residence in his eye but had caused years of illness. Now his painting is on the cover of the medical journal Emerging Infectious Diseases (PDF). From the Washington Post:

“I suppose there was almost a sense of relief . . . just because I realized I wasn’t going mad,” Taylor said of his diagnosis...

While recovering, Taylor began painting again, and while rummaging in his home studio, he came across... the unfinished work he had shelved earlier...

He grabbed his paints and brush and began to finish it. He drew the lashes and the sclera, or the white part of the eye. He painted over the middle, so that the intricate wormlike patterns look like spiraling galaxies disappearing into the dark pupil. He added the worms — long, white and nearly transparent images slithering from the eyelids. “Untitled” became “The Host.”

"His health had been failing for years. Then he saw something crawling in his eye" (Washington Post)

Watch baby goats visit the seals at the zoo

Zookeeper Brianne Zanella is tasked with exercising Oregon Zoo's baby goats, who visit the seals for the first time in this charming video.

The smaller of the two, Ruth is a two-month-old Nigerian dwarf goat kid named after Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her friend Sonia is a mini-Nubian goat kid. No word on when or if they are getting an exotic tiny goat named Elena.

There's a whole Tiny Goat Visits series for those interested in a deep dive into goat-related entertainment.

Tiny Goat Visits Seals (YouTube / Oregon Zoo)

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