"Softbody Tetris": what if tetronimoes were made of jello?

C4D4U's SOFTBODY TETRIS V16 is (as the name implies), the latest in a series of "softbody" simulations of Tetris, in which the tetronimoes are rubbery, jelly-like solids that glisten as they wobble into place. It's an incredibly soothing thing to watch (C4D4U calls them "ASMR for my eyes") and part of a wider genre of softbody sims. JWZ argues that this "becomes intolerable" upon the "realization that completed rows don't liquify" but if that's your thing, you need SOFTBODY TETRIS V9. Read the rest

Man helps beaver carry branch

This kind man assisted a beaver with a heavy burden. Read the rest

Supreme Court blocks House Democrats' subpoena for Trump's tax returns, for now

The Supreme Court today issued an administrative stay that blocks a subpoena from House Democrats for Donald Trump's tax returns. Read the rest

Kentucky atheist can get ‘IM GOD’ license plate, US court rules

A federal court ruled today that an atheist gentleman from Kentucky should be permitted to get a personalized license plate from the state with the phrase “IM GOD” on it. The man is committed to his cause -- this only took three years of legal fighting. Read the rest

Narwhal the 'Unicorn Puppy' has 'tail' on head he can't wag

10-week-old puppy Narwhal has tail-like appendage growing from forehead

Meet Narwhal, an abandoned puppy with an extra tail on his head

Staff at Mac's Mission, an animal rescue center in Missouri, named him Narwhal. The healthy 10-week-old pup has an extra tail, smack in the middle of his forehead.

Rochelle Steffen, who runs Mac's Mission, named after a pit-bull terrier she rescued seven and a half years ago, told BBC News Narwhal "is in no pain and plays for hours". ... And X-rays had showed his secondary tail, about a third the size of his actual tail, was not connected to anything and served no purpose other than to make him the "coolest puppy ever".

Narwhal will not be made available for adoption until he's grown up some, to confirm the secondary tail is healthy. Read the rest

Taxpayers spent $10b for Trump's wall (so far); smugglers are cutting it with $100 saws and $10 blades

Cutting through the vertical bollards in Trump's "virtually impenetrable" wall takes mere minutes, using a $100 reciprocating saw and "extreme metal cutting" blades that sell for $10-15; once cut, the length of the bollards provides leverage to wall-cutters so they can be easily bent to allow a person to pass through them, and afterwards, the bollards can be replaced and cemented with easy-to-cut putty that border patrol officers often mistake for official repair welds (these welds are only slightly harder to cut through than the putty). Read the rest

Beautiful boxed set of two Octavia Butler novels

Seven Stories press just released this gorgeous boxed set of Octavia E. Butler's Parable novels. It's available today and would make a great gift for any reader.

This boxed set pairs the bestselling Nebula-prize nominee, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, which together tell the near-future odyssey of Lauren Olamina, a "hyper-empathic" young woman who is twice as feeling in a world that has become doubly dehumanized. In Sower, set in California in 2024, small walled communities protect from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of "Paints," people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape, and murder. It is into this landscape that Lauren begins her journey, traveling on foot along the dangerous coastal highways, moving north into the unknown. The book has an introduction by feminist, journalist, activist, and author Gloria Steinem.

Parable of the Talents celebrates the classic Butlerian themes of alienation and transcendence, violence and spirituality, slavery and freedom, separation and community, to astonishing effect, in the shockingly familiar, broken world of 2032. It is told in the voice of Lauren Olamina's daughter –– from whom she has been separated for most of the girl's life –– with selections from Lauren's journal. Against a background of a war-torn continent, and with a far-right religious crusader in the office of the U.S. presidency, this is a book about a society whose very fabric has been torn asunder, and where the basic physical and emotional needs of people seem almost impossible to meet.

Read the rest

This website generates a new RPG dungeon every time you refresh the page

One Page Dungeon is a website that procedurally generates a new role-playing dungeon every time you press Enter (or refresh the page).

[via Clive Thompson] Read the rest

Scientists train rats to drive little cars to collect food, and the rats like it

Researchers at the University of Richmond in Virginia trained rats to hop into little cars and drive them to collect food. The rats' success suggest their brains have more plasticity than previously assumed. Read the rest

Super genius blows up backyard trying to kill critters

This is some serious Wile E. Coyote-level gopher management going on here. Read the rest

Le Creuset announces a line of high-end Star Wars cookwear

French company Le Creuset has announced a line of its signature enameled cast-iron cookwear themed after the Star Wars franchise; it's expensive even by Le Creuset standards, and a few of the pieces are uninspired messes, but the Han Solo in Carbonite roaster ($450), the R2-D2 Mini Cocotte ($30) and the Porg Pie Bird ($25) are positively brilliant. I'm also fond of the Tattoine Dutch oven, but that one isn't even priced and the company is offering an "opportunity to purchase." (via Geekologie) Read the rest

Veterinary tech training video starring man as pissed-off, unruly, and frightened cat

The video is titled "Veterinary Technician Training: Handling a Fractious Cat."

After several viewings, it occurs to me that they mean "cat" as in "hepcat."

Read the rest

9th circuit: scraping publicly-accessible websites is fine

A company scraped information from public profiles on LinkedIn and LinkedIn sued it under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. LinkedIn lost, and now it loses again. Moreover, the court's opinion takes aim at the company's efforts to stop people from accessing information its users post publicly.

The panel affirmed the district court’s preliminary injunction forbidding the professional networking website LinkedIn Corp. from denying plaintiff hiQ, a data analytics company, access to publicly available LinkedIn member profiles. Using automated bots, hiQ scrapes information that LinkedIn users have included on public LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn sent hiQ a cause-and-desist letter, demanding that hiQ stop accessing and copying data from LinkedIn’s server. HiQ filed suit, seeking injunctive relief based on California law and a declaratory judgment that LinkedIn could not lawfully invoke the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, California Penal Code § 502(c), or the common law of trespass against it.

Note that this wasn't a copyright infringement claim, as is easy to assume; LinkedIn wasn't claiming ownership of the material being scraped. So the moral of the story is not "finders keepers" but "if you don't want something to be publicly published, don't let your users publish it publicly on your website". Other ways of putting it may be "If you don't want people to hear what your customers are saying, don't be a pub." Or maybe "If you're the sleazest, spammiest, data-suckingest social network on the planet, get in the sea." Read the rest

Babies turn into hairy "werewolves" after mislabeled Rogaine sold as antacid

A pharmaceutical lab in Spain mislabeled minoxidil (a hair-loss drug sold in the U.S. as Rogaine) as omeprazole (an antacid marketed as Prilosec). Excess hair growth resulted after babies were prescribed the latter and consumed the former, reports the New York Times.

The children who took the mislabeled medicine, some of them babies, began growing hair all over their bodies, a rare condition known as hypertrichosis, Spain’s health minister said on Wednesday. ...

Ms. Carcedo, the health minister, told reporters that no pharmacy in Spain still had the mislabeled omeprazole.

“We have immobilized all the batches,” she said.

Do not drink Rogaine. Read the rest

Uber and Lyft gouge their drivers

I hear endless stories of grief from the friends I have who try to make ends meet working for these services.

Jalopnik's Dhruv Mehrotra and Aaron Gordon share the terrible economics:

But Dave, who was granted anonymity out of fear of being deactivated by the ride-hail giant for speaking to the press, had no real choice but to wait. The passenger had requested the stop through the app, so refusing to make it would have been contentious both with the customer and with Uber. The exact number varies by city, but drivers must maintain a high rating in order to work on their platform. And there’s widespread belief among drivers that the Uber algorithm punishes drivers for cancelling trips.

Ultimately, the rider paid $65 for the half-hour trip, according to a receipt viewed by Jalopnik. But Dave made only $15 (the fares have been rounded to anonymize the transaction).

Uber kept the rest, meaning the multibillion-dollar corporation kept more than 75 percent of the fare, more than triple the average so-called “take-rate” it claims in financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Had he known in advance how much he would have been paid for the ride relative to what the rider paid, Dave said he never would have accepted the fare.

“This is robbery,” Dave told Jalopnik over email. “This business is out of control.”

Read the rest

Teenager uses fridge to tweet after her mother takes her phone away

A teenage girl lost her phone privileges so she used her 3DS to go online. Her mother found out and confiscated it. The girl resumed tweeting on her Wii U. After her mother took that away, the girl started tweeting from the LG smart refrigerator in the kitchen. The girl said her mother has made plans to remove it.

[via New York Magazine]

Image: Twitter Read the rest

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