The Onion wishes to speak to Michael Cohen about the angry email he sent them in 2013

In January 2013, The Onion ran a satire piece "written" by "Donald Trump," titled, "When You're Feeling Low, Just Remember I'll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years." (Excerpt: "In the not-very-distant future I will die and then be gone from the world for all eternity. You may even get to watch me in a casket on national television being lowered into the ground, never to be seen again. I bet you’re smiling just thinking about that... Indeed, you can always take solace in the fact that the monstrous, unimaginable piece of shit that is me will stop existing fairly soon, and that I will continue to not exist for the remainder of your lifetime.")

A couple of weeks later, Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, sent The Onion an unintentionally funny email, asking The Onion to contact him "immediately to discuss," saying "the article is an absolutely disgusting piece that lacks any place in journalism; even in your Onion." He adds, "This commentary goes way beyond defamation and, if not immediately removed, I will take all actions necessary to ensure your actions do not go without consequence. Guide yourself accordingly."

The editors of The Onion say they would love to speak with Cohen now.

Unfortunately, this email must have been improperly sorted by one of the Malaysian children who work in our mailroom, and was only discovered crumpled up under a pile of journalism awards in a remote corner of our offices last week. We read the email, and given Mr. Trump’s ascension to the presidency since its writing, we want to apologize for the delay and would be delighted to meet with Mr. Cohen in person—at the White House, perhaps?

Two displeased lynx have a screaming match with each other

If you've never heard a lynx wail, now is your chance. Their screams sound more like humans just being weird than actual animal sounds, but according to Global News, these lynx shouts are real.

The video was shot in Ontario, Canada.

While Edward Trist, his girlfriend Nicole Lewis and his daughter were heading down a logging road to go fishing near Avery Lake, Ont., east of Kenora, on Friday, they came across the rare sight about nine metres from where they stopped.

Trist said in an interview with Global News that they were heading off to go fishing.

“We started off down this road and there were two lynx on the road and as we approached, they didn’t move which was really odd,” he said. “We got out and started filming it … what we caught on camera is very, very rare to catch.”

Publix censors graduation cake to remove the cum from "Summa Cum Laude"

Cara Koscinksi ordered a graduation cake from the John's Island Publix, requesting the phrase "Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude Class of 2018". Publix ruined the order by removing "cum", because "cum" is "profane."

A $70 cake!! He earned a 4.79 GPA. Publix refused to write the words Summa Cum Laude because I was using ‘profanity!’ They put three dashes instead of the word!

How utterly ridiculous and I will be speaking to a manager for a refund. Shame on you Publix for turning an innocent

Latin phrase into a total embarrassment for having to explain to my son and others (including my 70 year old mother) about this joke of a cake. My son was humiliated!!! I seriously couldn’t make this crap up!!!!

What better day to explain "cum" to great grandma?

US public schools are still theoretically safer than combat-zones

Politifact ran the math on Gwen Graham's Washington Post story comparing numbers of 2018 US school shooting deaths vs 2018 US armed service combat deaths to-date. Schools have seen more deaths than combat this year. Politifact, however, reminds us that combat-zones should be be more dangerous than public school.

Combat zones should be more dangerous, but are not. How incredibly we are failing.

Poltifact:

Graham wrote, "So far this year, more students have been killed in schools than soldiers in combat zones."

On the numbers, she is right. This year at least, within Graham’s stated parameters, exactly twice as many students have died in school shootings than military personnel have died in combat zones.

It is important to know, however, the likelihood of being killed in a combat zone is still vastly higher than it is in a school.

The statement is accurate but needs additional information. That meets our definition of Mostly True.

Earlier this month my daughter, aged 11, spent an afternoon sheltering-in-place at her school. There was an unrelated-to-school incident of domestic violence a block or two away. The sound of shots appropriately sent the school into 'save the kids' mode. My daughter huddled in a corner for 3.5 hours. This is not the school experience our kids should have: wondering when it will be their turn to die.

Beethoven original musical manuscript up for auction

Two pages of Ludwig Van Beethoven's original musical manuscript for his Emperor Concerto (Piano Concerto No. 5) are up for auction. The 1809 document is expected to go for US$250,000-$350,000. The Emperor Concerto was the last piano concerto Beethoven completed. From Bonham's:

The first page is a sketch for the second theme of the first movement. Orchestral exposition, beginning with bar 3 in E flat minor with the following major version in B flat major. The further course is noted in a very shortened form (partly within the bar line division no entries, partly pauses, partly obviously only bass tones). The second page contains ideas for the second and third movements. The material of the second movement (found on staves 1-7) is the earlier version of this movement which Beethoven wrote in theme and variations form. Time signature of 2/4 and in B major (but with only four sharps in the key signature). Including the autograph markings "pizz," "tutti" and "minore" (most likely referring to the envisaged minor-mode variation) and twice the notes "Solo" and "una corda." Staves 8-11 are a sketch for the transition to the 3rd movement, with a notation of the final theme - with a different rhythm and different metric at the end "dopo presto."

NRA president Ollie North partially blames school shootings on Ritalin

On Fox News Sunday, the National Rifle Association's incoming president Oliver North partially blamed the increase in school shootings on the ADHD medication Ritalin:

"The problem that we've got is, we're trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease, and the disease in this case isn't the Second Amendment; the disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence. They've been drugged in many cases. Nearly all of these perpetrators are male, and they're young teenagers in most cases, and they've come through a culture where violence is commonplace. Many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten. Now, I am certainly not a doctor, I'm a Marine, but I can see those kinds of things happening."

Over at CNN, psychology professor George DuPaul of Lehigh University counters North's bullshit:

"No, there is no evidence of that. In fact, if anything, there's stronger evidence that Ritalin and other medications that are used to treat ADHD would reduce violence and aggressive behavior."

(CNN)

The paperback of Walkaway is out today, along with reissues of all my adult novels in matching covers!

Today marks the release of the paperback of Walkaway, along with reissues of my five other adult novels, all in matching covers designed by the incredible Will Stahle (and if ebooks are your thing, check out my fair-trade ebook store, where you can get all my audiobooks and ebooks sold on the same terms as physical editions, with no DRM and no license agreements!).

The emerging split in modern trustbusting: Alexander Hamilton's Fully Automated Luxury Communism vs Thomas Jefferson's Redecentralization

From the late 1970s on, the Chicago School economists worked with the likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Augusto Pinochet and Brian Mulroney to dismantle antitrust enforcement, declaring that the only time government should intervene is when monopolists conspired to raise prices -- everything else was fair game. (more…)

This solar-powered device will keep you connected during an emergency

Handheld radios might seem a bit archaic, but in an emergency situation, few things will keep you as reliably connected to the outside world. This Emergency Multi-Function Radio & Flashlight takes the utility of the tried-and-true radio and combines it with a powerful flashlight and self-sufficient energy system. It's available in the Boing Boing Store for $18.99.

In addition to its bright, built-in LED flashlight, this multi-functional radio features a large solar panel on top and a hand crank, so you can charge it without batteries. It's handheld and easily packaged, making ideal for packing away in an emergency kit. And, it can even charge USB devices via the onboard battery.

You can shore up your disaster-relief kit with the Emergency Multi-Function Radio & Flashlight, available in the Boing Boing Store today for $18.99.

Theranos's corporate culture was a nightmare

John Carreyrou broke the story of Theranos' epic medical fraud. At Wired he now takes a sharp look at its dysfunctional corporate culture, excerpted from his new book on the corrupt Silicon Valley unicorn's spectacular downfall, Bad Blood [Amazon].

Not all of it was Elizabeth Holmes, either. COO Sunny Balwani was a quietly stupid office tyrant:

[Theranos'] device remained very much a work in progress. The list of its problems was lengthy.

The biggest problem of all was the dysfunctional corporate culture in which it was being developed. Holmes and Balwani regarded anyone who raised a concern or an objection as a cynic and a nay-sayer. Employees who persisted in doing so were usually marginalized or fired, while sycophants were promoted.

Employees were Balwani’s minions. He expected them to be at his disposal at all hours of the day or night and on weekends. He checked the security logs every morning to see when they badged in and out. Every evening, around 7:30, he made a flyby of the engineering department to make sure people were still at their desks working. With time, some employees grew less afraid of him and devised ways to manage him, as it dawned on them that they were dealing with an erratic man-child of limited intellect and an even more limited attention span.

Holmes, by contrast, was savvy yet unreasonable. And it got worse after high-ranking staff quit rather than be party to Theranos going public with its unreliable tech...

The resignations infuriated Holmes and Balwani. The following day, they summoned the staff for an all-hands meeting in the cafeteria. Copies of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho’s famous novel about an Andalusian shepherd boy who finds his destiny by going on a journey to Egypt, had been placed on every chair. Still visibly angry, Holmes told the gathered employees that she was building a religion. If there were any among them who didn’t believe, they should leave. Balwani put it more bluntly: Anyone not prepared to show complete devotion and unmitigated loyalty to the company should “get the fuck out.”

You look at all this and wonder at the legal event horizon, for corporate executives, beyond which nothing is truly forbidden. But then you realize that Theranos was a just billion-dollar version of Amy's Baking Company.

X-Men: Grand Design 8 - In Cairo

Ed Piskor's offering an annotated page-by-page look at the first part of X-Men: Grand Design, his epic retelling of how Marvel comics' pantheon of heroes came to be. Catch up here. — Eds.

Director’s commentary…

The source material for this strip primarily comes from issue #117 of Uncanny X-Men and I absolutely recommend you check out this issue. It’s one of my favorites.

My ultimate goal for X-Men: Grand Design is to make a complete 240 page chronicle using the first 280 issues, or so, of the classic X-Men comics as my source material. Consider my series to be a remix or adaptation rather than a strict retelling. Usually there’s an abundance of great source material to draw from that the translation into my comic leaves a lot on the cutting room floor (the reason why you should read or reread issue 117). The hope is to capture as much of the spirit of the original work in as few panels as possible, but also to add my own freshness to it. It’s an exercise in editing. It’s an exercise in summarization. It’s an exercise in picking my spots when it comes to adding to, or changing, the lore.

The broad strokes are all here. Xavier nomadically ends up in Cairo. Baby Storm picks his pockets. It’s revealed that an outside force is manipulating our future weather queen into performing petty larceny. Enter Amahl Farouk.

The structure of my pages here in X-Men: Grand Design is largely inspired by a mix of European comic albums and broadsheet Sunday funnies from the golden age of comic strips. 4 tiers of panels on one page with as many as 12 panels per page equals lots of opportunity to convey lots of story, an important necessity for what I’m trying to do.

When I set to work on this page I felt a big surge of inspiration from Herge’s Tintin comics series. I think the inspiration is most evident in panel 2 and 3 in terms of line quality, subject matter, and color choices. Herge never left my thoughts during this whole sequence, though. After you read X-Men issue 117 give a Tintin comic a shot. Any of them will do.

The first X-Men Grand Design collection is now available for purchase on Amazon! Stay tuned for another strip this time next week.

You can pre-order X-Men: Grand Design, Second Genesis on Amazon today.

Eyeball planets

I'm fascinated by painting of an extrasolar planet, credited to "Beau.TheConsortium" and apparently first posted to this SF Wiki. They're called "eyeball planets" -- similar to Earth, but tidally locked with their star, creating a vast polar ice cap on the dark side, a scorching desert facing the sun, and a band around the center where water melts from one side to the other and life happens. The extremes involved have made them a hot topic among those searching for life.

The sweet spot—let’s call it the “ring of life”—is at the terminator, the boundary between night and day. The ring of life is bounded by deserts on one side and ice on the other. There is a constant flow of water from the night side to the day side—a series of rivers, all flowing in the same direction. The Sun is fixed in the sky right at the horizon, and the area is in permanent light. Conditions are pretty much the same all the way across the ring of life. One can imagine vegetation following the rivers onto the day side until they dry up, with different ecosystems interspersed along the way. There could be mountains at the edge of the ice sheets, since the ice-covered continents would be heavily weighed down

Henri le Chat Noir bids us "Oh, revoir"

Henri is a black cat with an "interminable sense of ennui." He unwittingly came across some internet fame back in 2007 when his caretaker Will Braden posted the first video of him in what would become a short, and quite popular, web series.

Now, the feline philosopher has announced his retirement.

Well, the time has come. My final video with the annoying thieving filmmaker is here. Now, I will finally be able to officially retire in peace and work on my philosophy without interruptions. I plan on writing the great feline-american novel. I thank all of you for your support and adulation.

Merci, Henri.

In order, here is the series:

This one was voted the "best Internet cat video" in 2012

Henri also has a book: Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat

(Neatorama)

There's a new James album coming out!

If you came of age in the 1990s, you couldn't help but know the lyrics to at least one James song. Laid is great! Not just the single, but the whole damn record. But here's the thing: It's not the greatest tune that the band has churned out. In fact, since Laid hit the charts back in 1993, James has continued to make absolutely fabulous, soulful music. If you're not familiar with their catalog, there's no better time than the present to fill your ears with their sounds. You'll find their songs on Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.

Once you're caught up, you'll be ready to buy their new album, Living in Extraordinary Times, due to pop on August 3rd.

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