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

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

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

GE is totally messing with customers who need help resetting a lightbulb

Holy cow! This How-To video sounds like a parody but is just GE being GE, I guess.

Who the fuck needs to reset a lightbulb?

How many GE engineers does it take to reset a lightbulb?

Reset a lightbulb.

(Thank you, BCC) Read the rest

Mishaps during landing on early aircraft carriers

I just laugh and laugh. The calm announcer could only be improved with the addition of Yakety Sax. Read the rest

Florida Governor says the FBI told him how the Russians hacked Florida voting machines, but swore him to secrecy

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says that after the Mueller Report was published, the FBI came to him to explain its conclusion that at least two Florida county's voting machines were hacked by Russians during the 2016 election, but that they swore him to secrecy so he can't reveal which counties and which machines were hacked. Read the rest

Insistent not-a-racist GOP Rep. Mark Meadows displays his racism

North Carolina's Rep. Mark Meadows was aghast that Rep. Rashida Tlaib found his parading HUD official Lynne Patton, a black woman, before congress as prop, to be racist. He insisted he is not a racist.

There is plenty of video of displaying Meadows smugly spreading racist "birther" theories about President Obama.

TPM:

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) was very indignant Thursday when Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) accused him of using HUD official Lynne Patton, a black woman, as a prop to counter Michael Cohen’s accusations of racism.

He retorted loudly, saying that her implication was racist and citing black people in his life.

Unfortunately for the self-righteous congressman, videos have surfaced since the fracas that show him espousing the thoroughly debunked “birther” theory about President Barack Obama.

Read the rest

Yikes is over.

Seeing a slight resurgence online this week, perhaps due to issues related to the government shutdown, is the viral term "Yikes!" I humbly propose that this shopworn exclamation be replaced for the duration of 2019 with "Blimey!" This perfectly British alternative honors the derailed madness of Brexit and even comes with an optional intensifier — Cor Blimey! — though Americans would be advised to use it sparingly. Read the rest

Lin-Manuel Miranda rescues New York's beloved, century-old Drama Book Shop

For more than 100 years, New York City's Tony-award-winning Drama Book Shop has been a stalwart of the city's thronging theater community; but like so many independent bookstores, it has struggled (it recently announced that it would have to leave its Times Square location on January 20 due to rent hikes). Read the rest

Drones deliberately taunting Gatwick Airport, shutting it down for nearly 24 hours so far

Police are on the hunt for the owners of disruptive drones that have shut down London's Gatwick Airport for nearly 20 hours, preventing flights from taking off and landing. And these aren't your usual off-the-shelf drones, either. Police describe them as "industrial specification" drones, meaning they are "something bigger or more complex," according to CNN.

This is Gatwick's busiest time, with over 100,000 passengers stranded until the drone operators are located.

But locating them hasn't been easy.

Via CNN:

"Each time we believe we get close to the operator, the drone disappears; when we look to reopen the airfield, the drone reappears," Sussex Police Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw told the UK's Press Association...

Aviation expert Jon Parker told CNN he'd "seen nothing on this scale before," in terms of deliberate disruption by a drone to a major UK airport.

Usually, an airport shuts down for only half an hour when a drone disrupts an airport, but this case is different.

"The usual practice (when a drone is spotted) is to suspend flights for half-an-hour, which is the usual battery lifespan for drones," explained Parker, a former Royal Airforce fighter pilot and head of drone training company Flyby Technology.

But in the case of Gatwick, "whoever is responsible for this has had several batteries and have brought their drones back to the ground to put new batteries on them," he said.

Passengers describe the scene at Gatwick as "total chaos" and "utter shambles."

Passengers stranded at Gatwick in the early hours of Thursday described "total chaos" inside the terminal, with flights suspended and little information from staff.

Read the rest

500-year-old skeleton clad in thigh-high leather boots found face down in London mud

And I didn't even know Keith Richards was missing.

The New York Times reports on the discovery of a mudlarker's body in the Thames mud, complete with thigh-high leather boots.

Britons fishing or scavenging in the River Thames in central London are a rare sight these days. But in medieval times, the river was teeming with workers toiling along its banks. The 500-year-old skeleton of a man believed to be among them has been found buried in layers of river mud in southeast London, offering a glimpse of a bygone era.

Perhaps most intriguing, what remained of his legs was discovered in a pair of thigh-high leather boots — unusual even for his time. Specialists say the man could have been a fisherman, a dock worker or a mudlark — a scavenger who hunted for objects of value by the river.

Read the rest

Trump cybersecurity advisor Rudy Giuliani has no idea how the internet works

Rudy Giuliani fatfingered a tweet last week and inadvertently referenced a nonexistent URL (G-20.in); some clever wag registered the URL and stood up a static landing page that reads "Donald J. Trump is a traitor to our country." Read the rest

Trump may ban migrants entering U.S. from Mexico, in stunt to win GOP fear vote

U.S. President Donald Trump is considering issuing an executive order to close the U.S.-Mexico border, as the depleted and ragtag #MigrantCaravan of poor people seeking asylum ambles north from Central America. Read the rest

A database of instructions for making different paper airplanes

Fold N Fly is a visual database of paper airplane designs, sortable by aerodynamic properties (distance, airtime, etc), and difficulty of folding. Some pretty exotic designs, too! (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

In this video, the beeps make you see something that isn't there

In this video, Caltech demonstrates the Rabbit Illusion, a "time-traveling illusion trick." It tricked me.

Caltech researchers have developed these two new illusions that reveal how the senses can influence each other—in particular, how sound can give rise to visual illusions. These illusions occur so quickly that they illustrate a phenomenon called postdiction (as opposed to prediction) in which a stimulus that occurs later can retroactively affect our perceptions of an earlier event.

Read the rest

This illusion supposedly tricks your brain into time travel

Science Alert claims this illusions mimics time travel in the brain. I think the illusion works, but I saw no dinosaurs. Read the rest

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