Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the country's air defenses mistakenly shot down a Ukranian passenger jet Wednesday, killing all 176 aboard. It was thought to be a cruise missile, he said, describing the crash as an "unforgivable mistake."
The downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 on Wednesday came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq.
The strikes were a response to the killing of senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad on 3 January.
BBC analyst Lyse Doucet says such an admission of culpability is "highly unusual".
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Iran has decided it has to own this disaster to avoid it triggering another war of words with the West or exacerbating further anger and anguish among its own people, who are reeling from one calamity after another. Make no mistake, this admission was an act of de-escalation. The repercussions at home may soon be clear. Iran's foreign minister has already sought to shift blame by saying it was "a crisis caused by US adventurism". But the big question now is: who took the decision to allow a civilian airliner to take off when Iran's airspace was shot through with such tension?
A British man was sentenced to indefinite detention, according to the BBC, after having been caught on camera attempting to burn down a synagogue and instead burning down himself. [Via Charles Stross]
When police arrested him at his Alexander Terrace home he had burns to his hands, forehead and hair and was carrying two lock knives and two lighters. As he was put in a police van, Morgan said: "Please tell me that synagogue is burning to the ground. If not, it's poor preparation."
The court heard the attack on the building coincided with a Jewish feast[sic] day commemorating disasters, including the Holocaust. The repairs totalled more than £23,000. Judge Anthony Leonard QC handed Morgan a hospital order without limit of time, saying most people would feel "anger and revulsion" for what he did.
President of the synagogue, Mr Richard Halsey, thanked the police for their "brilliant response" and "support".
The video is like a Looney Tunes cartoon, a true "Instant Karma" classic. Read the rest
Mistaking an open fishtank for a bench in a restaurant, a man on a phone takes a seat there to have a conversation. Unfortunately neither the surface tension of the water nor the man's natural buoyancy are sufficient to keep him from plunging in.
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Paul Zimmer was hot on Instagram until his young fans accused him of ripping them off: he sold shout-outs but failed to deliver, according to reports, then vanished from social media when a #banpaulzimmer hashtag aerosolized the allegations. Now his account is back in action, writes New Statesman's Sarah Manavis, trying to pass the torch to "Troy", first introduced as a lookalike, then as Paul's own younger brother.
The third post, on 18 December, was a bombshell: “Hey it’s Paul Zimmer,” he wrote, “this is prolly gonna be my last social post ever… I have come to a place in my life where being in the spotlight and being an entertainer is no longer my passion... although it deeply saddens me to leave so bluntly, especially that so many of you have watched me for so many years.... I didn’t wanna leave my social media pages just sitting to die... soo I have decided to give my social media accounts to @troybeckerig because he is one of the dopest people I know and he is literally my younger twin my much younger twin I believe Troy is 15 or 16 years old hahaha…”
The weirdest thing about social media is how it rewards those least aware of how clearly they are seen through.
Any doubts may be dispelled by Manavis's sleuthing:
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Zimmer continues to maintain that he and Becker aren’t the same person. However, Becker’s IMDb page indicates the actor may have had doubts of his own. While in its current state it includes very little information, a cached version from 7 October 2019 shows that Troy Becker's "nickname" was "Paul Zimmer".
It seems like Tesla should have some kind of warning system that forces you to press an override icon if you really want to drive with the door open.
Model X oopsie from r/IdiotsInCars
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The purpose of automated attendant/interactive voice response phone menu systems is to make you fuck off before you trouble a human being. But such systems have a moral spectrum of their own, in which you cannot be simply dispatched or hung up on. The decision to end the call must be yours.
Whoever realized the repellent brutality of Britney Spears' Toxic played over a VoIP compression protocol deserves some kind of reward.
Experience it yourself: 858 924 0180
Tell me if it works, as I have no inclination to verify the claim myself. Read the rest
In the annals of bad ideas, "stick your foot in lava" is as solid an entry as the medium is not. In this video, a brief tap of a stoutly-booted toe is enough to make me cringe in horror. The video is safe to watch and the kicker appears unharmed; the behavior of the magma is fascinating. Read the rest
Never tell me the odds of avoiding a DMCA takedown. Read the rest
An anonymous police officer in Herington, Kansas, claimed he was given a coffee cup with "fucking pigs" written on it by staff at McDonalds. The story went viral, uncritically laundered by local media and spread by outraged conservatives on the internet. But it turned out he was lying. McDonalds had the receipts—video surveillance of the purchase—and forced the Herington P.D. to admit that it didn't happen. The cop "is no longer employed" by Herington Police Department, says Chief Brian Hornaday
"In (our) investigation we have found that McDonald's and its employees did not have anything whatsoever to do with this incident, this was completely and solely fabricated by a Herington police officer who is no longer employed with our agency," Herington Police Department Chief Brian Hornaday said in a news conference Monday.
The incident, the chief said, has been an "obvious violation of ... public trust."
"Our job is solely to do this job with the utmost integrity because if you can't trust the cops, who can you trust," he said.
It was Hornaday himself who first posted the photos to social media, which is why we don't know the name of the cop, because he is refusing to tell anyone. "If you can't trust the cops, who can you trust," he adds. Read the rest
A woman on a bus in Amherst, Ma., objects to young passengers not speaking English in a private conversation she was not party to. Other riders on the vehicle then object to her making a big racist fuss. The cops arrive and assure her that it is she who is in the wrong. Then she storms off.
Is it telling that a cop comes along and asks the victims for their IDs, but not the elderly white man defending them? He had clearly put himself at the center of events, after all. Read the rest
If the forklift driver did something like this everyday, he could become a popular YouTuber.
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A large tractor trailer dangles precipitously over a steep embankment. A crane to the rescue! Things are looking good. But then the system's center of gravity moves in an undesirable direction, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
How did this get resolved in the end?
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Abbey Winters, the wife of Chattooga County, Georgia's sole county commissioner, was arrested Friday and charged with battery after pouring a drink on a reporter. The reporter had apparently asked her husband, Jason Winters, a difficult question about a trip to France. The drink was named as "soda", but the brand and flavor were not disclosed.
Below is embedded video of the public-meeting mayhem, posted by AllOnGeorgia. The victim, AllOnGeorgia reporter Casie Bryant, is out of shot, as is Abbey Winters, but you get the NSFW dialog and the hapless excuses about how she had it coming.
"I'm sick of it."
"She brought it on herself."
"She brought it on herself."
"Nobody brings that on themself."
"By saying he went to France?"
"Oh, yes, bitch"
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Styropyro plays with fire on his YouTube channel, and the latest video shows him playing with a ridiculously dangerous laser, intended for tattoo removal, that he bought on eBay.
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I was searching for a Nd:YAG laser cavity for a future project when I came across a bunch of tattoo removal devices on eBay. They claimed to contain a Nd:YAG laser but at a small fraction of the cost of buying the parts separately. Skeptical, I bought one anyway since I had the option to return it if it didn't live up to the seller's claims.
Much to my surprise my unit turned out to be INSANELY powerful.
State Snaps is a send-in-your-photos party wheeze aimed at fratboys. Spread amorphously over various social media platforms, it's too sleazy to go mainstream but too successful to stay in one place. But the wannabe operators failed to register a key domain name, doitforstate.com, that reflects the viral motto "Do it for State!" associated with The Brand. So a domain squatter got it. Usually, a call to a lawyer comes next. Not these guys.
The gunman wore a baseball cap, had pantyhose pulled over his face, and sunglasses covered his eyes.
Deyo briefly raised his arms in surrender — then bolted into his bedroom. He slammed the door behind him and braced for impact. Moments later, the intruder kicked through the doorway and grabbed Deyo by the neck.
“Where’s your computer?” he demanded. According to Deyo’s courtroom testimony, he led the man across the hall and into his office with the gun now shoved into the small of his back. He sat down, the man opened up his MacBook Pro, and Deyo felt the gun move from his spine to the rear of his skull, the metal hard on his scalp.
“Okay, motherfucker,” Deyo recalled him saying. “GoDaddy.com.”
Why file a trademark and SLAPP your way to a domain name you want when you can just get a goon to force the squatter to turn it over at gunpoint? All time greatest domainer tip right here. Read the rest
I haven't read the later books in the Southern Reach series, but I imagine if the phenomena had eventually extended past the swamp to interact with horses and wolves the result would have looked very much like this:
It seems to be a knockoff of "Twilight Hunters" from the Trail of Painted Ponies series:
The series includes several horse/animal combinations. Artist Lori Musil explained her first horse in the series, a horse/cow hybrid, was inspired by searching for a horse on her friend's farm:
The house was surrounded by a picket fence and beyond that, as far as you could see, all you could see were Herefords. I walked around for a while, moving among the cows, calves and bulls, but I couldn’t find the horse. Finally I gave up, and after my friend had a good laugh, she came out with bucket of grain, shook it, and this head popped up with the ears standing straight. Apparently he would hide among the cattle when he thought he was going to be ridden, but when it came to grain, he couldn’t resist.
You can see other horses in the series here. Read the rest
Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson posted a tweet late Sunday condemning Donald Trump for posthumously pardoning Charles Manson, the cult leader jailed for life after his followers murdered nine people in 1967. Trump, however, has not issued such a pardon, and Williamson's tweet vanished several hours later.
"There is something deeply sinister about Trump pardoning Charles Manson, even posthumously. Dog whistles of the very worst kind..." Williamson wrote.
But it was Williamson who was whistled, and she later added: "I erroneously tweeted that President Trump had posthumously pardoned Charles Manson. Glad to have been wrong."
Manson died in 2017. Denied parole three times, he was never considered for any kind of clemency. Furthermore, Manson was charged under California state law and tried in Los Angeles County Court, making a presidential pardon impossible as he was not convicted of a federal crime.
Presidential pardons for the dead are rare. Only four have received such a pardon, the latest being Trump's recent pardon of heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, a likely ingredient of whatever fake news Williamson credulously commented upon.
Williamson's positive, spiritually-themed messaging stood out at early Dem debates, but also drew attention to questionable advice in her books, and she has so far failed to make headway in opinion polls. Read the rest