Turns out that injecting semen into your arm doesn't cure back pain after all

A man in Ireland repeatedly injected semen into his arm in the hopes that it would cure his back pain. He instead got a subcutaneous abcess and had to get professional help. [via Gizmodo]

Drs. Dunne, Murphy and Rutledge report:

A 33 year old male was seen complaining of severe, sudden onset lower back pain. He reported lifting a heavy steel object 3 days prior and his symptoms had progressed ever since. This gentleman had a history of chronic low back pain without neurology. Thorough physical exam of the upper and lower limbs revealed an erythematous papule with a central focus on the medial aspect of his right upper limb. His ASIA score for neurology was normal and non-contributory. The patient disclosed that he had intravenously injected his own semen as an innovative method to treat back pain. He had devised this “cure” independent of any medical advice. ... The case also demonstrates the risks involved with medical experimentation prior to extensive clinical research in the form of phased trials inclusive of safety and efficacy assessments.

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Slack's new logo is a penis swastika

Behold the Brostika! Like the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo, Slack's new brand has a negative-space surprise in store. The bars point the "lucky" left way, at least, rather than, well, to the right.

Here it is with the negative space filled in:

Below are Slack's "Logo explorations for the octothorpe." Octothorpe is a fancy word for the pound/hash symbol, which they have somehow managed to turn into a contact sheet of procedurally-generated swastikas.

UPDATE: T. Carter Baxter nails it better than I:

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Roku welcomes conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Infowars (Update: Jones removed)

Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars rantathon channel have been turfed out of virtually every major platform due to his love of violent rhetoric, racial hatred and general bigotry. Welcome to Roku, Alex!

Roku may have given itself a brand safety issue. The streaming service has added Infowars, the live show hosted by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as a channel. Jones was in the news on Jan. 11 for losing a legal battle to Sandy Hook shooting victims’ families, forcing his company to turn over documents.

On Jan. 14, Roku users tweeted their concerns at the company. One tweet from @DanielMadison78 asked, “Hey @Roku, what’s with you adding Infowars to your platform?” In a now-deleted tweet, Roku’s support account replied with a link to the channel.

Roku is built-in to many television sets nowadays—for people who don't like racist conspiracy theories, it has just become a nearly perfect wedding of convenience and very unexpected consequences.

UPDATE: Following the backlash, they removed them.

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CES rescinds own award from sex toy because sex toys are obscene

The Consumer Entertainment Show gave a digital sex toy an award. Then it rescinded the award because sex toys are "immoral, obscene, indecent [or] profane" and banned it from the trade show floor. Katie Notopoulos reports, however, that they've given such toys awards in the past.

It’s unclear why the CTA made the Osé an honoree in the first place, before backtracking on its decision to include an adult product. The trade show gave a sex toy a similar award three years ago, and other companies have exhibited sex toys and adult products at the show over the years.

A representative from CTA told BuzzFeed News, “[Osé] does not qualify because it does not fit in to any of our existing CES 2019 categories.” Asked to clarify if this is because it didn’t meet the standards of being a robot or drone, they replied, “it’s an adult product so not eligible.”

Those dead-eyed, life-size sex dolls are another feature of CES that are fine by it:

Perhaps the answer to all this is that CES's executives are old-school sexist twerps and there's simply no unraveling what's going on under their skin. In 2012, the BBC reported that CES chief Gary Shapiro mocked complaints about the "booth babes" that were then still a pervasive feature at the exhibition.

"Well, sometimes it is a little old school, but it does work," Shapiro tells the BBC. "People naturally want to go towards what they consider pretty. So your effort to try to get a story based on booth babes, which is decreasing rather rapidly in the industry, and say that it's somehow sexism imbalancing, it's cute but it's frankly irrelevant in my view."

This man is the head of America's main tech industry trade group. Read the rest

TV weatherman fired after uttering racial slur on air

Go fuck yourself, Rochester.

A TV meteorologist at an NBC affiliate in Rochester, New York was fired after being accused of using an on-air racial slur in reference to Martin Luther King Jr. However, WHEC chief meteorologist Jeremy Kappell says he simply "jumbled" his words during Friday's broadcast. A video posted to social media of Kappell's broadcast shows him apparently calling a park named for the slain civil rights leader "Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Park."

WHEC general manager Richard Reingold wrote on the station's website that the station made a "staffing change" Sunday.

In a rambling video, Kappell says it was a misunderstanding, a mispronunciation, "if it hurts you I sincerely apologize," and then criticizes his station.

“What happened on Friday, to me, it’s a simple misunderstanding. If you watch me regularly, you know that I tend to contain a lot of information in my weathercast, which forces me to speak fast and unfortunately I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — so fast to the point where I jumbled a couple of words. Now in my mind, I knew I had mispronounced. But there was no malice."...

I'm so disappointed that my career could end this way and extremely disappointed and the decisions made by my television station my expected a certain level of support from and I did not receive at all

Not the recommended way to apologize, sure, but you can't say he didn't do him. Read the rest

Iran sacks state TV chief after uncensored broadcast of Jackie Chan sex scene

A broadcast of the 2009 crime drama The Shinjuku Incident cost an Iranian TV chief his job last week, reports the BBC. He forgot to censor a sex scene featuring star Jackie Chan.

Iranian media said the "immoral" scene was aired by Kish TV in "total violation of Irib's regulations".

Physical contact between men and women is not permitted on screen in Iran.

Censors are also said to be required to remove men and women exchanging "tender words or jokes", unveiled women, close-ups of women's faces and exposed necklines, as well as negative portrayals of police and bearded men.

I only have more questions after reading this. Read the rest

White Mirror: How did Microsoft's 2009 predictions for the world of 2019 hold up?

In 2009, Microsoft produced a video imagining the world of 2019. They did well with the software aspects of touchscreen interfaces and machine vision, but overshot the runway on bezel-less devices and the general ubiquity of touchscreens themselves. There's a touchscreen coffee mug! All the depicted applications (such as flexible high-FPS color e-ink) are shown without a batteries or other power sources. This is a mandatory omission in all such future fantasies.

The clip is a general reminder of how predictable developments in basic consumer technology were over this time period. Microsoft was on solid ground exaggerating what were already, in 2009, obvious and entrenched trends, and then imagining what the rich would be doing with touchscreens on everything. Consider that a 2009 iMac is virtually identical, from the front, to a 2018 model. The evolution is in the details: thinness, high-DPI panels, faster hardware, software refinement, and so on. Still no touchscreen Macs, mind you...

Yet everything has changed with how we use this technology, and Microsoft didn't imagine any of that. Check out the Harry Potter newspaper: they went for blandly positive business headlines. This safe bet (also constrained by having to avoid controvertial predictions) turns out to be the most ironically inaccurate prognostication of them all.

But it's not as if they're going to show all their wealthy business travelers weeping before their crypto investments, glumly cycling through the same algorithm-selected tweets again and again, or explaining on YouTube that racial slurs are just gamer talk. Microsoft wasn't thinking of the "beige basement" crowd, after all. Read the rest

Porch thief collared

Since it turned out the glitter bomb bait box was a hoax, I've finally accepted that nothing online is real. But this sure does look like a video of a porch pirate getting his ass ran down and beaten, complete with comical running back and forth, all set to the Benny Hill theme tune. Read the rest

Man who invented Keurig K-Cups regrets it

John Sylvan, the Keurig engineer who invented the K-Cup pod coffee system in the 1990s, regrets his mistake. It was intended for the corporate service market and the idea that people have these things in their homes leaves him "absolutely mystified."

He says he doesn't begrudge the company for its success, or for wanting to make money, but he does question consumers' slavish devotion to the things. The company's latest product, the Keurig 2.0, which allows users to use pods to make larger cups and pots of coffee, is a great example of that.

"I stopped when I was walking in the grocery store aisle and I said, 'What is that?'" Sylvan recalls. "I picked it up and looked at it and said, 'You have to be kidding me.' Now they want you to make a pot of coffee with a Keurig machine."

I switched to a Nespresso Essenza Mini [Amazon] a while back and it tastes much better. You can send in your pods to be recycled by Nespresso. It's "espresso", mind you, not "coffee". If you want coffee, just get an Aeropress, for Christ's sake.

Previously: The worst K-Cup coffee Read the rest

Penis facials contain foreskins of circumcised infants

"And not everyone is happy."

the controversial trend is back in the spotlight—and not in a good way. Penis facials are receiving a lot of backlash following a November 21st Instagram post by actress Kate Beckinsale, who captioned her photo, “After a long flight I do like to lie down and be covered in a mask of liquified cloned foreskins – frankly who doesn’t?”

Among the outlets elaborating on this story are People and The Guardian. The penis facial is $650, but there's a two-year waiting list. It is, essentially, minor outpatient surgery akin to a botoxing or chemical peel:

I’ll hate myself for this, but can you explain the foreskin facial? Of course! Epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum is derived from the progenitor cells of the human fibroblast taken from the foreskins of newborn babies. And what does it do? Glad you asked. It helps to generate collagen and elastin, which can help to boost the radiance of your face. Fun sidenote: it also smells exactly like sperm! Well, sign me up. Wait, there’s more. For the serum to take hold, a beauty therapist must first microneedle you.

I don’t know what that is. Oh, it’s fun. It’s where a pen containing dozens of tiny needles repeatedly stabs you in the face hundreds of thousands of times. It’s excruciatingly painful

Hyperreality refers to our inability to separate reality from simulation. This is a feature of postmodern life often associated with VR but baked deeply into our psychological relationship to media in general. Read the rest

Samsung faked a smartphone portrait with a stock photo taken with a DSLR

Samsung's latest phones have a "portrait" mode that cleverly fakes the look of a shot taken with a fancy lens on a full-frame sensor. But a picture they used as an example in an ad turns out to be a stock photo taken with a high-end DLSR. Moreover, the photographer, Dunja Djudjic, has a blog and is currently murdering Samsung.

My first reaction was to burst out into laughter. Just look at the Photoshop job they did on my face and hair! I’ve always liked my natural hair color (even though it’s turning gray black and white), but I guess the creator of this franken-image prefers reddish tones. Except in the eyes though, where they removed all of the blood vessels.

Whoever created this image, they also cut me out of the original background and pasted me onto a random photo of a park. I mean, the original photo was taken at f/2.0 if I remember well, and they needed the “before” and “after” – a photo with a sharp background, and another one where the almighty “portrait mode” blurred it out. So Samsung’s Photoshop master resolved it by using a different background.

Huawei did exactly the same thing a while back. We wonder at the sheer stupidity of it, but I wonder if that's just confirmation bias, in that the stupid ones get caught.

Just think of all the plagiarism that's going to be exposed virtually overnight when someone turns the AIs loose on the problem. But also the false charges of such, generated by the normal and natural lines of influence and fair use it will also reveal. Read the rest

What happens if you drink a liter of soy sauce (spoiler: nothing good)

In this chilling video, YouTuber oncologist Chubbyemu tells the story of a woman who colon-cleansed by drinking a liter of soy sauce—which would be about 200g of sodium on top of whatever other crap is in there, five times the lethal dose. The internet has long been a place to go for bad advice, but now more of it is malicious and no-one can tell. Things did not go well for her. Read the rest

Code recreates Pfizer's 1956 effort to procedurally generate drug names

Procedural generation isn't just for video game landscapes and galaxies. The technique for creating vast amounts of realistic but uncannily superficial content goes back a long way. Pfizer used it to generate drug names in 1956, feeding code to an IBM mainframe and getting potential products in return.

James Ryan (@xfoml) posted excerpts from news article from the time (above), and it's fascinating to read how it's described for a mid-1950s lay audience to whom computers and their ways were utterly alien.

Based on the newspaper's description, Hugo (@hugovk) reimplemented the 60-year-old generator, and now you too can generate thousands of realistic but uncannily superficial drug names.

Some picks:

NEW DRUG NAMES

scudyl whirringom reenef entreeic suffuseeta duplexune nickelan raunchyata handbillal gammonasa pluckerel slawax

... IMPROPER FOR A FAMILY MEDICINE CHEST

loraliva crumpledol moralura burnishite smuttyevo sucklingify hagfishat cockpited moralux ballcockose shittyule cocklesex

From the full output list I like "coughedore" -- like a stevedore, but for unloading mucus.

I wonder how long it took Pfizer to realize that procgen is useless. Read the rest

DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather fined over posts promoting fraud-tainted cryptocurrency

DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather both pitched deals to their followers, but did not disclose or admit they were paid to do so. Both are being fined as a result of the undisclosed sponsorships, which were, of course, for sleazy cryptocurrencies.

Both took money to promote Centra Tech, an ICO that eventually led to fraud charges for several of its masterminds. The SEC found that Mayweather took $100,000 to promote the Centra token, as well as $200,000 to promote two other ICOs, in posts like an Instagram message where he told his millions of followers "You can call me Floyd Crypto Mayweather from now on." DJ Khaled was paid $50,000 to promote Centra Tech -- facts neither mentioned in their social media posts. While they avoided admitting any wrongdoing, both will have to give up the money they were paid, along with an additional $300,000 penalty for Mayweather to go with a $100,000 fine for DJ Khaled (plus interest).

A phenomenon of the Twitter era is celebrities not really bothering with professional financial and business help beyond accountants. The dumb ones are easier marks than ever.

Here's the SEC press release on the Centra coin shenanigan. It peaked at a $240m market cap but quickly deflated and is now nearly worthless; the founders were arrested in April. Read the rest

Marriott admits hack exposing "as many as 500 million" travelers

Stayed at a Starwood hotel in the last five years or so? Every one of you and more—as many as 500 million people, says owner Marriott—are implicated in what would be the second-largest hack of all time.

The company said Friday that credit card numbers and expirations dates of some guests may have been taken. For about 327 million people, the information exposed includes some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date and communication preferences. For some guests, the information was limited to name and sometimes other data such as mailing address, email address or other information.

Yahoo holds the record, with 3bn accounts breached. The only other breach in the same league as these would be the 412m accounts dumped from Adult Friend Finder. Marriott and Starwood merged two years ago, but open season at Starwood's servers apparently continued until September this year. Read the rest

Welcome To The Internet, the tracksuit

The Welcome To The Internet tracksuit [Getonfleek.com] features a classic image so thoroughly buried in sedimentary layers of meme and merch that it's no longer easy to locate the original through the usual means: the cover of a Scholastic book from 1999 [Amazon].

The illustrator is Donald Grant, whose page on Behance has contact info if you're looking to commission a sequel. Read the rest

Instagram "influencers" phished and accounts stolen

Instagram influencers are easy marks for phishers: they are unlikely to be security-savvy, are easily taken-in by marketing patter, have huge easily-grifted audiences, and Instagram won't even give them their accounts back afterward. Taylor Lorenz:

For young influencers with no direct contacts at Instagram or Facebook, it can be nearly impossible to retrieve a stolen account. Hackers will change the contact email address and phone number and reset the username so the account is impossible to find. Then, they’ll run ads on it until they can sell the whole page off for a large price, sometimes more than a hundred thousand dollars.

Faisal Shafique, a college student who Instagrams under the handle @Fact, said that he earns roughly $300,000 a year from posting sponsored content for brands like TikTok and Fashion Nova. When Brooks seized control of his account several weeks ago, it put those brand deals in jeopardy, potentially costing him his livelihood. Shafique was able to retrieve his account back before it was sold off, but he estimates he would have lost a half-a-million-dollar property if he hadn’t.

See also The Rise of the Nanoinfluencer -- people with smaller but still exploitable social media followings who get paid in care packages of the (sometimes expensive) stuff they post about. Read the rest

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