Gender reveal pipe bomb kills grandma

A woman was killed at a "gender reveal" party after being struck by shrapnel from an explosive contraption: "a metal stand, gunpowder and colored powder were involved," report police.

At about 4:03 p.m., police responded to a report that a woman, later identified as 56-year-old Pamela Kreimeyer, had been severely injured in an explosion, according to a news release from the Marion County Sheriff's Office. When officials arrived at the scene in Knoxville, the woman was pronounced dead. Knoxville is about 40 miles southeast of Des Moines.

Kreimeyer was 45 feet from the device when it exploded. It created a 200-yard wide debris field.

They put a piece of wood on top of the gunpowder and some powder of an unspecified color on top of that. The stand had a hole drilled in the side for a fuse. Finally, tape was wrapped over the top of the assembly. The idea was for the gunpowder to blast the powder indicating a boy or girl out the top of the stand. But the explosion instead sent metal shrapnel flying

Police are "warning people to not add to or make your own gender reveal kits." Read the rest

Family at viewing for dead relative sees wrong person in the casket

A family visited the Bragg Funeral Home in Paterson, New Jersey for a private viewing of their deceased relative Doris Chapman. When they opened the casket though, it wasn't Champman inside but someone else wearing Chapman's clothing. And the funeral home employees didn't believe them. The family plans to sue. From KCBD:

The family says that no matter how many times they told the workers that the body was not Chapman’s, they were told otherwise.

"They kept on insisting that was my grandmother, that things do happen, the body does change…we couldn’t believe it, but we had no choice but to believe it for the moment,” (Geralyn) McNeal says.

“We thought that the funeral home knew best. They were telling us that she was not ready, ‘She won't look like this when we're done,’” says Chapman’s niece Valencia Coney.

The family says that Chapman’s body was in the casket the next day for the service. They say that at least one funeral home employee admitted to the mistake.

Read the rest

Hyperflesh 'Danny DeVito' mask will haunt your dreams

Landon Meir creates convincing "Hyperflesh" masks of celebrities like Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson. Read the rest

BBC apologizes after interviewer confuses politician's resting smirk for actual laughter

Is UK Home Secretary Priti Patel laughing in this image? She was not, and both the BBC and interiewer Andrew Marr have apologized for his suggestion that she was. It is her normal facial expression, as Patel correctly pointed out, and not a response to Marr's discussion of people who would suffer under Brexit.

"Andrew Marr commented on Priti Patel laughing after he glanced up while reading a list of business leaders concerned about the impact of Brexit on their industries.

"He thought he saw the home secretary smile but now accepts this was in fact her natural expression and wasn't indicating amusement at his line of questioning."

The statement concluded: "There was no intention to cause offence and we are sorry if viewers felt this to be the case."

The top results for Patel on Google Image search (below) suggest to me that Patel's facial expressions are, perhaps unfairly, one of those British media things. It strikes me as what happens when you're trying to hold a benign, unexploitable facial expression in the presence of cameras, but don't have a lot of practice or training in such things, and end up with an unintentionally icy smirk.

The context: Patel is as far right as mainstream UK conservatism gets, a former tobacco industry lobbyist who once suggested threatening the Irish Republic with the prospect of "food shortages". She was forced to resign from former PM Theresa May's government when it emerged she'd secretely met with Israel's prime minister a day before May's own official visit. Read the rest

Publisher cans Naomi Wolf book about homosexuality in Victorian England

Naomi Wolf's formerly forthcoming book, "Outrages", is about the emergence of homosexuality as a concept and its criminalization in 19th-century England. When review copies went out, though, a serious problem emerged for its claim that many gay men were sent to the gallows by Victorian judges: they were alive after their supposed executions. Wolf had misunderstood the legal term "death was recorded" (which actually means they were pardoned), failed to realize that child rape was also charged as "sodomy" (thereby accounting for some actual executions), and the resulting lack of verifiably gay corpses threatened the book's thesis. The book was temporarily withdrawn for revisions. Four months on, however, the publisher is cutting it loose.

The NYT:

In June, days before the book was expected to go on sale in the United States, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt postponed the publication and recalled copies from retailers, an unusual and costly move. The publisher said at the time that “new questions have arisen that require more time to explore.” Now, it has pulled the book altogether.

On Monday, a spokeswoman for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in an email that Ms. Wolf and the publisher “mutually and amicably agreed to part company.”

This suggests the book can't be rescued as credible nonfiction, a common outcome for attempts to contemporize historical interactions between sexuality and society. But Wolf's been on thin ice a long time and has few defenders. Read the rest

This unmasking of Mitt Romney's secret Twitter account should win the Pierrelitzer Prize

Sunday brought us McKay Coppins' detailed interview with Mitt Romney, the last Republican grandee to hold out against Trump's domination of the party. In it, Romney mentioned in passing that uses a secret Twitter account to keep tabs on stuff. Ashley Feinberg tracked it down with ruthless cunning and fast results: This Sure Looks Like Mitt Romney’s Secret Twitter Account (Update: It Is).

Meet “Pierre Delecto.”


Pierre has only ever tweeted 10 times total, and all of them have been replies to other tweets—certainly the sort of behavior one might expect to see from a self-described “lurker.” The account’s first tweet, coming a whole four years after its initial registration, was a show of frustration at Fox News for not yet having a New Hampshire presidential poll up. ... More recently, there was a tweet expressing unhappiness at Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria (which Romney has publicly condemned) while also insisting on the Senate’s powerlessness (as Romney a move as there ever was).

Remember Little Face Mitt? Get ready for Big Derriere Pierre. Read the rest

School security guard asked student to stop calling him the n-word. So the school fired him.

A black security guard at Madison West High School in Madison, Wisconsin, asked a student—also black—to stop calling him the n-word. The school fired the security guard, citing its zero-tolerance policy on racial slurs.

Marlon Anderson's Facebook post in which he describes his termination from the Madison School District after working there for 11 years generated hundreds of comments supporting the former school worker. Many derided the district's zero-tolerance policy toward use of the slur by staff in any context. ...

"Regardless of context or circumstance, racial slurs are not acceptable in our schools," West High School Principal Karen Boran said in an email to families Wednesday.

In a statement, Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes said the district has "taken a tough stance on racial slurs" in an attempt to improve the school climate for students and staff.

The school became notorious for all the racist slurs, the zero-tolerance policy was introduced to get rid of the racist slurs, but it has been used to get rid of a black member of staff complaining about the racist slurs. Read the rest

You Don't Se: Trump wrote much of own lawyer letter to Pelosi

The White House Counsel's "crazy, ranty" legal nastygram to House Leader Nancy Pelosi over impeachment was, Noah Shachtman writes, crafted by Trump himself.

Asawin Suebsaeng and Sam Stein, at the Daily Beast:

Trump had also privately consulted on the letter with Rudy Giuliani, his notably pugnacious personal lawyer who is at the center of the Ukraine and Biden-related scandal engulfing the administration. Trump talked to Giuliani about how he and the White House should proceed in fighting back and challenging the legitimacy of the impeachment probe, one of the sources noted. Reached for comment on Thursday evening, the former New York mayor and Trump confidant repeatedly declined to confirm or deny this.

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Zoophile stalked farmers who denied him their mares

At The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan reports on an alleged zoophile who demanded farmers let him at the horses while conducting a terrifying stalking campaign against those who refused. For well over a year, two mysteries consumed a peaceful New Jersey community.

The 31-year-old was arrested Oct. 3, according to the New Jersey Herald. Prosecutors said at a Wednesday detention hearing that since August 2018, he had been sending letters and emails detailing his request to farms, stables and horse boarding facilities throughout Sussex County, located in the northernmost point of the state. Unsurprisingly, many of the recipients were not thrilled to learn than an adult man was interested in having a sexual relationship with their livestock

The man used the nickname "TackyChaps". Read the rest

Raytracing with MySQL

Raytracing is a method for drawing scenes by modeling beams of light, illuminating and richocheting off objects. It's realistic but very slow, and only the newest and most expensive video cards [Amazon] introduce it to realtime games. MySQL is the most commonplace relational database, the sewer containing all the web's fatbergs, the last thing on earth you'd use for number-crunching graphics. Or ... is it? Behold the MySQL Raytracer, by Holtsetio.

This is a raytracing engine contained in a single Mysql SELECT statement. In the beginning of the code there are a few parameters that can be modified. The scene can be specified using the @triangles and @squares parameters, but everything is explained in the comments. The whole query returns a bitmap file which can be written to the filesystem using the "INTO DUMPFILE" syntax at the end of the query, if mysql has filesystem write permissions. The raytracer supports shadows and reflections, which makes it, to my knowledge, the most advanced MySQL raytracer on the market right now. However, it is not really polished and kinda slow. Since I didn't really know how to present this work in a demoparty friendly way, I just included two finished renderings.

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Twitter admits two-factor login phone numbers were used for advertising

Twitter reports that email address and phone numbers added for security reasons such as two-factor authorization "may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes."

When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes. This was an error and we apologize.

We cannot say with certainty how many people were impacted by this, but in an effort to be transparent, we wanted to make everyone aware. No personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties.

User data that Twitter cannot sell ended up in an advertising product that lets Twitter monetize such data without revealing it directly to third parties. Inadvertantly. Read the rest

U.S. diplomat's wife flees Britain after killing man in road accident

After killing a man in a road accident, Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat, was interviewed by police and promised not to leave the country while the incident was investigated. She quickly fled to the U.S., and now Britain is asking its ally to waive diplomatic immunity and send her back.

Anne Sacoolas is wanted by police over the death of motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, in Northamptonshire on 27 August.

The US State Department said diplomatic immunity was "rarely waived".

Boris Johnson said the UK would speak to the US ambassador and "if we can't resolve it then... I will be raising it myself with the White House".

A nice amuse-bouche for Boris Johnson's forthcoming feast of humiliations at the hands of Donald Trump, should he last long enough in office to eat the main course.

Danny Glover was not available for comment as of press time. Read the rest

Burger King staff refused to read menu for blind customer

All Medina Hall wanted was to be told if the brownie had nuts in it. But staff at a Burger King in Folkestone, England, refused to read the ingredients list to her off the menu — she is blind — claiming that there were rules that forbade them from doing so. Burger King apologized to Hall.

A Burger King spokesman said: "We would firstly like to apologise to Medina, her experience this week is not reflective of the high standards we would expect within any of our restaurants.

"Everyone should have an enjoyable experience when they visit us and we are looking into this matter further."

He added: "I can also confirm that there is no such policy to refrain from reading allergen information to visually-impaired customers."

Read the rest

Man pretending to be cop arrested by actual cop

In this video, bodycam footage shows a young man in jeans and a vaguely authoritarian shirt leaning into a driver's window. The bodycam wearer quietly approaches on foot, as if acting as backup on a stop in progress. But it soon becomes clear the two "officers" don't know each other and, well, perhaps you can guess the rest.

There's a fine comic moment not far in:

"What's your name?"

"Brenden Wysynski."

"How do you spell that?"

"B. R. E. N. D. E. N."

Fire and Police Videos obtained lapel footage of an Albuquerque Police Department investigation and arrest of 18-year-old Brenden Wysynski for posing as a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office deputy.

Wysynski unlawfully pulled over a citizen for speeding and a passing Albuquerque Police Officer noticed something was off about the traffic stop.

He had pulled over a citizen of Albuquerque in his personal vehicle that was outfitted with lights, sirens, and radio bought off the internet. APD and BCSO Officers determined he did not work for any police department and was placed under arrest.

Wysynski is being charged with impersonating a peace officer. His trial is later this month.

If you are not sure the person pulling you over is a law enforcement officer, call 911 or pull into a very public parking area and ask to speak to a supervisor.

Some people who pretend to be cops in this manner are rapists or robbers, but there's a pattern of narcissistic people doing it for kicks. One man took it to Philip K. Read the rest

Halloween mask of Sloth from The Goonies deemed inaccurate

Trumpetcake spotted a remarkable item on Amazon being sold as "The Goonies Sloth Mask", perfect for Halloween. The sole customer review awards it 5 stars, but people on Twitter seem unimpressed with its versimilitude.

P.S. You can buy Babe Ruth bars on Amazon by the crate. Read the rest

Florida judge jails man for missing jury duty

Deandre Somerville, 21, of West Palm Beach, overslept and missed jury duty. Florida judge John S. Kastrenekes threw him in jail for 10 days.

"Now I have a record," he told local media. "I almost feel like a criminal now. Now, I have to explain this in every interview."

Somerville was to be one of six jurors, and it was his first time serving on a jury. He told local media he slept though his alarm and woke up hours later, realising he had missed the trial.

Kastrenakes also demanded a letter of apology, and went as far as to say how much of his time Somerville wasted: "almost an hour." After the media noticed, Kastrenakes reduced the sentence -- but Somerville had already served his 10 days.

It's not the first time a questionable decision has made the case about Judge Kastrenakes. He threatened a highway patrol trooper who gave him a ticket and ended up disqualified from a case involving another patrolman because of what he said to her.

Kastrenakes called trooper Sandra Thompson a “liar” during the 12:30 a.m. traffic stop and said the tickets she wrote him would color his opinion of troopers in court, the highway patrol didn’t make a report of the incident until five months later.

Even so, Kastrenakes this morning granted prosecutors’ motion for disqualification, stating “the public must have the perception of judicial fairness.”

“At the time, I was upset about receiving a ticket which seemed to me to be unjustified by the circumstances,” Kastrenakes wrote in his order, filed separately this morning in each of seven cases made by the FHP.

Read the rest

Women arrested after complaining to police that hitman ripped them off

El Pais reports that a mother and her daughter were arrested after hiring a man to kill a swindler, then complaining to police when he failed to do the job.

To be able to start working on the operation and locate the target, the fake spy requested a kind of deposit, of €7,000. This, he claimed, was the money needed to pay his informants and locate hitmen who could carry out the operation. But time passed, and the hit did not take place.

The fake hitman was also arrested and charged. The alleged swindler was finally found—to ensure he lives—and may finally face charges of his own in what Spanish police have named "Operation Kafka."

Photo:Shutterstock Read the rest

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