@sciencing_bi was a well-read Science Twitter account, a queer Native American professor with a unique perspective on science and university life. They reportedly caught coronavirus and and died of Covid, drawing tributes from online admirers, some of them prominent academics. But it was only the final straw in a haybale of suspicion for people who knew BethAnn McLaughlin, a white woman that @sciencing_bi often spoke of. It turns out, with grim predictability, that it was her all along, catfishing the academic pond.
The anonymous account, @Sciencing_Bi, was an active participant in the corner of Science Twitter that frequently discusses issues of sexual misconduct in the sciences. It claimed on at least one occasion to have grown up in Alabama, to have “fled the south because of their oppression of queer folk,” and to have attended Catholic school. The account began to pointedly make reference to being Native American and, earlier this year, began to identify as Hopi. ... In April, @Sciencing_Bi began to undergo a drama that belonged solely to her, announcing the coronavirus diagnosis in a tweet. It was Ms. McLaughlin who announced that the anonymous professor had died.
Twitter banned both McLaughlin and her sockpuppet, but there's a lot more to unravel.
An interesting element of the sockpuppet was posing @sciencing_bi at Arizona State University. One of the largest universities in the U.S., ASU has a six-figure roster of students, academics and staff, a daunting prospect to any researcher trying to track the account author down. Read the rest
John Boyne is famous as the author of the holocaust fable The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, but his latest work is A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom, a generation-spanning history mystery in the vein of Cloud Atlas.
In one scene, a recipe for red dye is described:
"The dyes that I used in my dressmaking were composed from various ingredients ... almost all required nightshade, sapphire, keese wing, the leaves of the silence princess plant, Octorok eyeball... For the red I had used for Abrila's dress, I employed spicy pepper, the tail of the red lizalfos and four Hylian shrooms."
These are recipes from the Nintendo game Breath of the Wild, a sprawling open-world adventure featuring the company's house elf Link and a roster of fabulous fauna and fauna.
Dana Schwartz was among the first to notice, quoting a pseudonymous redditor and quickly figuring out how Boyne found his way to the bizarre concoction.
Boyne is taking it well...
... but perhaps got a shade shirtier ("I'm trying to block the entire thing from my mind.") as the thread took off.
Boyne's "first google result" research habits are not unknown to literary critics and have gotten him in more trouble than this in the past.
But it's his low opinion of video games that makes this one a classic. Read the rest
In this footage, house minority leader Kevin McCarthy calls his GOP colleague Louie Gohmert, freshly diagnosed with the virus, "Congressman COVID." Harsh, but true. Read the rest
You've probably not heard of Frank Scurlock, bounce house magnate and onetime mayoral candidate in New Orleans. Even an amazing news story about him, published two years ago, did not quite attain the heights of virality. By suing the newspaper and reporter who published and wrote it, however, Scurlock has ensured that a vastly greater number of people will find out that he ...
... had pleaded no contest to a charge of “lewd and dissolute conduct” – a charge that was based on an Uber driver’s complaint that Scurlock had masturbated in the backseat of her car.
Scurlock's lawsuit, filed against The Times-Picayune and a reporter who then worked there, claimes it falsely reported that he was arrested. Scurlock is representing himself, according to NOLA.com.
(I hasten to add that the mugshot of Scurlock here is from a different run-in with the law) Read the rest
Asked by black radio host Mo'Kelly why Trump commuted his sentence, Roger Stone muttered "I can't beleive I'm arguing with this negro."
"There are thousands of people treated unfairly daily," O'Kelly said. "Hell, your number just happened to come up in the lottery. I'm guessing it was more than just luck, Roger, right?"
Stone was silent, then it sounded like he was either away from the phone or covering it up when he said, "I don't really feel like arguing with this negro."
"I'm sorry, what was that?" O'Kelly responded. "Roger? I'm sorry, what did you say?"
Stone denied calling him that, saying on air, "I did not. You're out of your mind. You're out of your mind."
The statement is at about 12m 30s in on the tape. It's very quiet on a low-quality audio stream and Stone's trying to claim he said something else, so here's the remark with the volume increased (ie. normalized to -0.1db in Adobe Audition):
An emerging excusensus on the right seems to be that calling a black man "this negro" in 2020 isn't racist because that's what they wanted to be called during the Hoover administration. Read the rest
Last week, top Twitter accounts blurted out bitcoin scams, hauling in more than $120k for whoever compromised the bluechecks before the company could shut down the caper. How did they get access to the well locked-down accounts of Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, Elon Musk and many more? According to The New York Times, someone left administrative logins pinned up in Twitter's slack channel.
Read the rest
Mr. O'Connor said other hackers had informed him that Kirk got access to the Twitter credentials when he found a way into Twitter's internal Slack messaging channel and saw them posted there, along with a service that gave him access to the company's servers. People investigating the case said that was consistent with what they had learned so far. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment, citing the active investigation.
In May, Harbor Freight recalled certain Pittsburgh-branded jack stands due to a defect in the ratchet that could lead to them collapsing under load. Unfortunately, some of the newer models have a welding defect, and are also being recalled. There is full list of the affected models.
The text of the recall is embedded below.
Read the rest
Kanye West announced this weekend that he's running for president, winning the immediate endorsement of billionaire socialite Elon Musk. It turns out, however, that West has filed none of the paperwork required to do so. So as of now, it's just a dream—or a stunt.
Read the rest
it's unclear whether West is really running.
He does not appear to have registered his name with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for November's election. The closest name the FEC database shows is a candidate called "Kanye Deez Nutz West", who filed their papers with the Green Party in 2015 under the address "1977 Golddigger Avenue, Suite Yeezus" and appears to have raised no money.
Oregon State Police said Monday that an officer who flashed the "OK" hand symbol at a far-right protestor did nothing wrong. The cop was filmed making the gesture as he approached the man, who slapped him chummily on the shoulder in response, during a protest in Salem, Oregon.
The OK gesture was appropriated by far-right figures and white supremacists as a plausibly-deniable way to signal shared sympathies, but isn't quite as subtle as they think. Even the NYPD placed one officer under internal review for using the gesture on duty.
The Oregon State Police officer was cleared of fault without much ado.
The Oregon State Police said the trooper used his hands because he was wearing a face covering and working in a noisy environment.
“Best available evidence indicates the trooper was simply checking on the man's status and used the universal signal to signify this inquiry, which the man gestured he was — then patted this trooper and a second trooper on their shoulders in an apparent signal of appreciation,” police said.
Fingers spread to form a conspicuous "W" (over the "P" formed by the forefinger and thumb) can specify its use as a white power symbol, according to the Southern Policy Law Center. Media commentators have claimed it is a harmless form of trolling or ironic racism intended to mock anti-racism campaigners. Read the rest
A woman was arrested yesterday after pulling a gun on another woman and her daughter outside a Detroit-area Chipotle. (Update: she was later charged with felony assault)
The circumstances are unclear and in dispute, but mostly on film. It appears the child, who is black, and the gun owner, who is white, bumped into one another outside the restaurant in Lake Orion, Michigan, and began arguing. By the time the filming begins, mom's demanding an apology from the woman. The gun owner, calm at this point, refuses to do so and demands they step aside to let her get in her car. They do and she gets in on the passenger side, and everyone begins debating racism through the car window, with the mother and the daughter angrily accusing her of "ignorance" while the gun owner insists that "white people aren't racist".
It appears the dispute is ending, but as the vehicle begins backing out — the footage is shaky and incompete beause the person filming has begun to walk away — someone behind the vehicle shouts "you're going to hit me?" and slaps the vehicle's rear window. It isn't clear if the person was about to be bumped inadvertantly by the driver or was deliberately obstructing the vehicle.
In any case, the gun owner exits the vehicle, draws the weapon, and begins screaming and threatening.
Two clips are in circulation. The longer one (below) shows the full dispute, mostly at a distance. Read the rest
The story is legendary. Nearly 50 years ago, a whale beached itself on the shores near Florence, Oregon. Its carcass was "dealt with" with dynamite by city officials, causing the blubber to fly! Now, the coastal city has opened the Exploding Whale Memorial Park to commemorate the incident.
Florence, near where the whale -- or as a KATU reporter referred to it at the time “a stinking whale of a problem” -- washed up, is finally honoring this beautiful moment in history with a new park.
It was the people of Florence who picked the name Exploding Whale Memorial Park.
“We asked the community for name suggestions, narrowed those 120-plus names down to nine, and had the community vote on them,” said Florence city project manager Megan Messmer.
The park offers views of the Siuslaw River and Bridge and the sand dunes on the south side of the river, according to the City of Florence’s website.
There are picnic tables and a shelter and a multi-use path, but, sadly, no whale carcasses, exploded or otherwise.
But there is a whale mascot.
Thanks, Juke! Read the rest
America First was a protectionist movement in the early 20th century whose name ultimately became the slogan of those opposed to fighting the Nazis. Revived by the Trump campaign in 2016, its antisemitic associations galvanized supporters while alarming wavering Republicans; his use of the phrase was a key moment in the forming of the "Never Trump" movement among conservative pundits. To help win re-election, he's selling T-shirts with the phrase, using a design that's unusually close to the Nazi parteiadler emblem.
The potential for similarity between generically patriotic "American Eagle" designs and the the German imperial eagle (especially the Nazi iterations of it) means great care is usually taken to avoid specific elements of the parteiadler and reichsadler emblems. For Trump's nativist followers, though, such things are feature, not bugs.
This is usually the point where "It's a Roman eagle!" is uttered. And so it is. Just like the salute. Read the rest
Taylor Lorentz is chronicling internet drama brilliantly for the New York Times, and her latest report is on the quasi-downfall of two high-flying YouTubers, Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star. They exemplify the stereotype of YouTube influencers--vacuous narcissists, tireless producers, canny businessmen--facing ruin after years of attention-seeking at the borders of racism, sexism and general abuse. The internet is a permanent record and the ground is liquefying underfoot.
Dawson has racked up billions of views on YouTube, often by engaging in offensive humor. He has posted several videos in blackface, mocked those with disabilities, joked about bestiality, sexualized minors, and once spoke about “figuratively murdering someone.” On June 26, Mr. Dawson posted a teary apology to his channel, in which he tried to make amends for his past, declaring that he deserved to “lose everything.”
No sooner had his apology video posted than a clip of him pretending to sexually gratify himself to a photo of Willow Smith, then 11 years old, resurfaced and began to get shared widely.
That's just one of the most ostentatiously repulsive acts. The catalog of backstabbing, blackmail, and insider grossness is quite extensive and Lorentz packs in the links for anyone wanting to take a deep dive. What I like most about her work at the Times is how it illustrates a growing dissatisfaction at what social media companies actually did to the internet. They reinstituted the old hierarchies, then stocked them with all these perma-adolescent psychos.
YouTube's tolerance for abuse caused two knock-on problems: YouTube (especially its comment platform) was ignored by media except as a video hosting site, the culture growing there was ignored as a result, and the people emerging from that culture were (temporarily, it turns out) able to quietly ignore their own earlier work after gaining broader exposure. Read the rest
Jonathan "Song A Day" Mann (Previously) wrote and performed this lovely song about the St. Louis woman filmed waving a gun, finger on the trigger, at protestors getting too close to her mansion. Fast work! Read the rest
The photos show an angry white couple, barefoot on the lawn of their mansion, pointing guns at predominantly black protestors marching on the sidewalk and street nearby. In an age of reputation-ruining mistakes, this one – the man and woman are well-known in their community – might have more profound consequences.
The mansion is in a gated community, but the street is not the mansion owners' property. Moreover, people who threaten others with guns in Missouri, even trespassers, are often charged with crimes. The Black Lives Matter march took that route, according to reports, because protestors were calling upon the city's mayor to resign and she lives nearby.
Laurie Skrivan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch covered the march and a small part of her definitive shot is cropped above. I think Laurie should win a Pulitzer: a crazed, bug-eyed white lady, saturday night special in-hand, shrieking at protesting black people getting too close to her mansion as her khaki-encased husband lurks in the background with a semi-automatic rifle. (It also takes real courage to point a long lens at people behaving like this.)
Truly (via Twitter) the stuff of nightmares:
Read the rest
A copy of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables was restored magnificently by a "furniture restorer" in Spain, whose work challenges the illustrious heights of 2012's Beast Jesus of Zaragoza.
The restorer made a second attempt, reports Europa Press, which lacks the Beast Jesus je ne sais quoi of his first effort but brings its own horror-movie corpse lady vibe to the table.
When asking the author of the 'restoration' for explanations , he tried to 'solve' the problem, but the result of the work has been an image that has nothing to do with the original. Now, the collector has contacted another specialist, this one trained for this work, who will try to rehabilitate the work, says the owner, speaking to Europa Press. The vice president of Internal Relations and coordinator in the Valencian Community of the Professional Association of Conservative Restorations explains that aberrations like this are "unfortunately much more frequent than you think."
Restorers warn of irreversible errors due to non-professional interventions [Machine translation, Google] Read the rest
Courtesy of Fox News blatherskite Kat Timpf, here's a lesson on the dangers of performing contempt for laughs. When your reptile brain feeds you something really nasty to say and you just do it, you'll have a choice on doubling-down on a career-ender or eating all that shit.
TV host Jimmy Kimmel had announced he's taking time off to be with his family, so Timpf ranted...
‘You know what, I’ve got to give my cat heart medicine every night, alright – that’s pretty hard.’ At this point, host Greg could be seen wincing and covering his face with his hands, but Kat went on oblivious. The 31-year-old continued: ‘Sometimes kids need medicine but it’s a lot more difficult to hold down a cat than a kid. Babies don’t have claws and if they do, you should see a priest.’ Greg then cut in to say: ‘Kat, I just want to remind you that Jimmy Kimmel has a son with a very serious heart condition.’
Given that choice, Timpf ate the shit.
Read the rest
“First of all, I’m very sorry for what I said in the last segment. I was just trying to make a lighthearted joke. I had no idea. I’m sorry to Jimmy Kimmel, and I am sorry to America. I had no idea and I’m very sorry, I’m an idiot.”