These soccer-ball-shaped water jugs make great firestarters

Some World Cup fans who picked up AquaStar's commemorative water jugs found out the hard way that leaving them in the sun is not a good idea, as they make fire-starting magnifiers. Read the rest

Watch how easy it is to break into this $100 "smart" lock

Tapplock sells a fingerprint-enabled padlock for $100. Zack was able to defeat it quickly and quietly by twisting off the back plate and removing a couple of screws. Ouch. Read the rest

No more hotel room meetings for Screen Actors Guild members

In an effort to save its members from being exploited, sexually assaulted or be otherwise forced to spend time with human turds in a private setting, the Screen Actors Guild has put the kibosh on holding meetings in "high-risk" locations.

According to The Guardian, the Screen Actor's Guild, which functions as a labor union for actors who appear on TV and in movies, has laid down the law, declaring that it's no longer cool for movie executives to set up meetings with actors in private locales such as hotel rooms or at someone's home address. Moving forward, if you want to yap with a member of SAG, it's gotta be in a workplace setting. The new measure comes as a result of handsy pricks like Harvey Weinstein and other high-powered executives in the entertainment business taking advantage of their position and the protection that Hollywood's elite formerly afforded them when it came to their sexual transgressions.

According to The Guardian, since accusations were first leveled against Weinstein this past October, SAG representatives have been hearing an average of five reports of sexual misconduct from its members, per day.

As a tech journalist, I'm sometimes brought to a hotel room by PR types from small to mid-sized firms to see a new product that they're representing. It usually happens during a trade show as the larger meeting rooms at convention centers and hotels are typically spoken for by large companies. I can't recall a single time that I've ever entered a hotel room, for work, where there weren't at least three or four people in the room with me. Read the rest

How to download and save your Facebook data before deleting

As #DeleteFacebook sweeps across the web in the wake of data misuse, some users are resisting because their account contains valuable information they don't want to lose. Saving all your data is easy to do and may make the decision easier. Read the rest

California's last "immigrant crossing" sign is gone

Created as a stop-gap to save undocumented migrants from getting killed by cars on Interstate 5 near the San Diego area border with Mexico, the signs soon took on a symbolic use beyond the original intent. The last one appears to have been stolen and won't be replaced. The Union-Tribune spoke to Caltrans designer John Hood about the sign, which was a replacement for an all-text sign:

"It doesn't just mean they are running across the freeway," Hood told the Union-Tribune in 2005, describing his choice of imagery. "It means they are running from something else as well. I think it's a struggle for a lot of things, for opportunities, for freedom.”

Caltrans installed 10 signs, focusing on areas like San Ysidro and the San Clemente checkpoint where migrants were known to cross the interstate on foot frequently.

The silhouette of a man with a mustache and woman in a dress running with their young daughter, her hair in pigtails trailing behind her, has been repurposed by different sides of the immigration debate over the years.

Last iconic 'immigrant crossing sign' disappears (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Image: Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

Self-driving cars face a huge challenge in detecting bicycles

Self-driving cars have a hard time predicting bicycle movement, and workarounds that require cyclists to buy transmitters are running into resistance from some. Read the rest

Watch an impressive series of crashes avoided by autonomous vehicles

Some of these near-misses would probably have been catastrophic and unavoidable without predictive autopilot. Read the rest

By sheer dumb luck, an intersection where cyclists and cars can't see each other until seconds before they collide

Hampshire's Ipley Cross is a notorious crossroads where cyclists keep getting hit and even killed by motorists, despite the mostly level terrain around the place where two roads cross each other at a seemingly innocuous angle. Read the rest

Women routinely caught fire in the mid-19th century

The mid-19th century vogue for flowing, diaphanous women's garments made from open-weave fabrics like "bobbinet, cotton muslin, gauze, and tarlatan," combined with gas lighting, candles, and open fires meant that it was extremely common for women to literally burst into flames: on stage, at parties, at home. Read the rest

Military-grade drones, coming to a police department near you

First responders laud drones for helping in rescues and negotiations, while some cities like Los Angeles are fighting calls to ground all police drones over privacy concerns. Read the rest

Reminder: train slipstreams can suck baby strollers onto the tracks

Set the brake on your baby carriage, wheelchair, or wheeled luggage if you plan to take your hands off it. Don't want this to happen. Luckily, this one was empty. Read the rest

Be very careful about using eclipse glasses to stare at the sun

A lot of websites including Amazon and eBay are selling dark lensed glasses designed to directly observe the solar eclipse that will pass over parts of the US on August 21. Read the rest

Lockdown tool prevents ladders from kicking out

Ladder lockdown is a metal tray with super-grippy patches on its underside; set it down on any surface (including ice!) and then set your ladder's feet in the tray and cinch it in place and the ladder won't "kick out" and injure you and your loved ones. Read the rest

City claims building park stairs too pricey, later tears out free stairs built by a resident

Retiree Adi Astl just wanted some stairs down a well-trod embankment in his local park. The city told him it would cost between $65,000 and $150,000, so he and a homeless guy built a nice set of stairs for about $550. Astl was then informed he violated municipal code section 608, and the stairs were ordered removed. Read the rest

Drivers who dislike cyclists don't see them

A new study of driver attitudes toward bikers shows that being able to perceive cyclists is influenced by driver attitudes toward cyclists. Those who don't like or don't care about cyclists don't see them even when looking at them. They also found that the social dominance of vehicles means they have a far higher degree of lethality over "alternative" transportation like biking or walking: Read the rest

Middle school teacher resigns amid horrific abuse from students

Sixth-grade teacher Kerstin Westcott held back tears as she explained why she was leaving her dream job at a Green Bay middle school. Police were called to the middle school almost daily in the past school year. Read the rest

Travel tip: don't throw coins into your plane's engine "for blessings"

A China Southern Airlines Flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou was delayed for five hours while maintenance workers fished nine coins out of the engine, whence they had been flung "for blessings" by an "elderly passenger" from the boarding ramp, as she was brought onto the plane by her husband, daughter and son-in-law. Read the rest

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