Podcast: Learn the hilarious stories behind the weird and quirky products of Archie McPhee

Want to know the stories behind finger hands, Handerpants (underpants for hands), and some of the other great novelty products from Seattle-based novelty giant Archie McPhee? I'm going to guess that you do. Let me point you to their new podcast Less Talk, More Monkey on iTunes and Google Play. It's hosted by my buddies-in-pop-culture Shana Danger, David Wahl, and Scott Heff.

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Puget Sound mussels are failing drug tests

If you’ve been using or abusing an opioid, then your pee’s been full of opioids. When your opioid-laced pee gets flushed away, those opioids wind up in our water: our reservoirs, streams and oceans.

And that, friends, is why mussels are failing drug tests.

According to CBS News, scientists at Washington’s Department of Fish & Wildlife have found evidence that the dregs of the opioids we consume and then whiz out are now present enough in the waters around Seattle that mussels are testing positive for oxycodone. As mussels are filter feeders, they tend to soak up environmental contaminants into their tissues in large concentrations.

From CBS News:

Happily, mussels don't metabolize drugs like oxycodone and thus wouldn't necessarily be physically harmed by the presence of it in their tissues, studies show that fish are not so lucky. In fact, scientists at the University of Utah recently discovered that, if given the opportunity, zebrafish will willingly dose themselves with opioids. Scientists say salmon and other fish might have a similar response.

The Puget Sound Institute notes that the amounts of opioids detected were thousands of times smaller than a typical human dose. And none of the mussels tested are near any commercial shellfish beds.

So the shellfish are safe, but man are we screwed.

That the opioid levels in the mussels have become high enough to be detectable says a lot about the amount of painkillers that we, as a society, are using and abusing, let alone the environmental impact we as a species can have, simply by going to the bathroom. Read the rest

Archie McPhee's Rubber Chicken Museum opens in Seattle

They've been building it up for weeks...

Have you heard? Just 5 days till our RUBBER CHICKEN MUSEUM GRAND OPENING! I heard there might be cake!?! 🍰🐔You don’t wanna miss out on cake do you?

A post shared by Archie McPhee (@archiemcphee) on May 6, 2018 at 4:20pm PDT

Teasing us with build photos of the world's largest rubber chicken...

Adding some… ahem… chicken wire. #rcmuseum

A post shared by Archie McPhee (@archiemcphee) on Apr 23, 2018 at 10:24am PDT

The World’s Largest Rubber Chicken is starting to fill out! (Next will be trimming it down.) #rcmuseum

A post shared by Archie McPhee (@archiemcphee) on Apr 26, 2018 at 9:53am PDT

We don’t want to spoil the unveiling of the World’s Largest Rubber Chicken (happening at the grand opening of the Rubber Chicken Museum at our Seattle store this Friday (you should come))! But here are some pics to whet your appetite. #rcmuseum

A post shared by Archie McPhee (@archiemcphee) on May 9, 2018 at 9:54am PDT

Now, finally, the folks at Archie McPhee have opened the world's first Rubber Chicken Museum at their retail store in Seattle's Wallingford district! The grand opening ceremony for this fowl museum began on Friday at 3 PM, with much fanfare, clucking, and squawking.

The opening of the new @archiemcphee Rubber Chicken Museum is close at hand.

A post shared by Mark Pahlow (@mcpheeceo) on May 11, 2018 at 2:45pm PDT

The museum's curator, the High Priestess of the Rubber Chicken Shana Iverson, used giant novelty scissors for the ribbon cutting, which was broadcast on Facebook Live. Read the rest

Seattleites: You'll soon be able to hitch a free ride in a 1967 Checker Cab

I met Seattle artist Marcia Wiley through my inbox zine a couple months ago. I had written about the idea of the "positive deviant," basically someone who strays from the norm but brings value rather than pain (akin to the "happy mutant"). The concept really resonated with me and I asked readers to send along names of positive deviants who they were aware of because I wanted to start a list. Marcia rightly offered up her own name, and, in our most recent communication, she shared a project of hers with me: "Miss Direction's Ride Service."

Since 2005, she has been bringing unexpected delight to strangers in a really fun way. Dressed in her alter ego "Miss Direction" driving outfit (below), she gives people waiting at bus stops a free ride to their destination in her Honda SUV. In exchange for the complimentary pickup, passengers share their story with her. It's been a great success.

Now she's looking to start "Miss Direction's Checker Cab Service." A 1967 Checker Cab has already surfaced for the job, but it needs some restoration work before she can take it to the streets. So, she's started a Kickstarter campaign to fund her dream of bringing "everyday magic" to Seattle, a place, she writes, "that is changing so rapidly that people often feel a loss of connection and have a sense that the city is losing its soul and becoming less unique."

This is her vow:

I'm committed to having Miss Direction’s ’67 Marathon Checker Cab on the road by November 11, 2018.

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The Locus Award finalists are out!

Every year, the readers of Locus Magazine collaborate with its editorial board to nominate and vote on their favorite science fiction and fantasy works; this year's finalist list came out today, and I'm pleased to see my novel Walkaway among some very good company indeed. Read the rest

Seattle spends five years failing to come up with a privacy policy for its $3.6m surveillance network, then spends $150k ripping it out

Five years after activists forced Seattle's mayor to return the city's surveillance drones to their manufacturer, the city has announced that it is terminating its warrantless mass-surveillance program altogether. Read the rest

Here's an amazing three-year timelapse of Seattle shot from atop the Space Needle

Since January 2015, the high-def 360 panoramic webcam on top of the Space Needle has been consistently capturing images every ten minutes of Seattle. Ricardo Martin Brualla took that footage and made this super-groovy timelapse video.

He explains his process in depth on Hackernoon:

I started with two full panoramas a day for the last two years, more than 2000 panos. Then, the sequence was stabilized, as the camera shakes and moves over time, either by being knocked, or because of the wind and other forces of nature. The final step was to smooth temporally the sequence, to remove the variation due to weather and lighting conditions.

Also, he's created a bunch of GIFs that highlight some of the cooler parts of the video (like the one below). Be sure to check them out.

(Sploid) Read the rest

There's a librarian action figure in the likeness of a real librarian

The rise of the Information Age has put librarians in more demand than ever, according to this recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

It simply makes sense that a librarian action figure would pop into the market, tiny red cape and all. This one is particularly special because it's fashioned after a real hero, librarian Nancy Pearl of Seattle, Washington.

You can pick one up over at Archie McPhee for $9.95. Read the rest

Seattle's Nazi tech-bros' plan: infiltrate tech industry, hire white supremacists

The Stranger's David Lewis snuck into the Northwest Forum, a s00per s33kr1t Nazi gathering in Seattle, and attended the speeches, including the keynote by reclusive white supremacist leader Dr Greg Johnson. Read the rest

Coming to Seattle: fact-checking workshop with legendary researcher Lisa Gold

Lisa Gold is the extraordinary researcher who is perhaps best know for her work with Neal Stephenson, particularly on the Baroque Trilogy. Read the rest

A few tickets left for tonight's event in Seattle! (then Bellingham, Vancouver, Burbank...) (!)

We had a fabulous time last night at Portland's Powell's City of Books and now I'm on the runway to fly up to Seattle for tonight's event at the Neptune Theater with Neal Stephenson (it's not too late to get tickets!) -- then tomorrow I'll be at Bellingham's Village Books before heading to the Vancouver Writers' Festival. Read the rest

See you tonight at Powell's, Portland! (then Seattle, Bellingham, Vancouver...) (!)

Yesterday's Walkaway event at San Diego's Mysterious Galaxy was terrific (there was birthday cake) and now I'm flying to Portland for an event at Powell's City of Books tonight with Andy "Waxy" Baio before heading to Seattle for an event with Neal Stephenson at the Neptune Theater, then a stop in Bellingham's Village Books. Read the rest

Uber threatens to leave Seattle if drivers can unionize; drivers rejoice

The City of Seattle voted to allow Uber drivers to form a union, and Uber says that if its court challenge to the rule is unsuccessful, it might leave Seattle. Read the rest

Uber uses its in-app podcasts to broadcast anti-union messages to drivers

The City of Seattle says it will let Uber drivers form a union, and Uber has retaliated by producing a series of anti-union audio programs that it is pushing to Uber drivers' apps, where the programs light up a non-dismissable alert asking the drivers to listen to the program. Read the rest

Washington data scientists: a chance to figure out how to use your skills for good

A pair of data-scientists in Washington State are convening a meeting of "Data Scientists, Data Science Enthusiasts, and Advocates for Civic Liberties and Social Justice" who want to figure out how "Data Scientists & IT Professionals use their expertise to help answer the current human questions which social and policy-based organizations are currently struggling to address?" Read the rest

Dad joke turns into a Hugh Mungus meme

Depending on whom you ask, a crazy lady got bent out of shape over a dad joke, or a pro-cop token sexually harassed a peaceful protester. Below are both versions of this modern-day Rashomon. Like Harambe, the Hugh Mungus meme works for all political persuasions.

(image: Block The Bunker Facebook event)

Background:

Seattle held raucous City Council meetings over plans to build an expensive new police precinct opponents call "The Bunker." Emotions ran high. This much everyone agrees on.

During the chaos, local news teams were interviewing attendees, including resident Rudy Pantoja. Pantoja expressed appreciation and support for the police, who had helped his daughter get help with her personal and legal problems. Protester Zarna Joshi felt the press was not covering the event proportionally, and began to film Pantoja's interview to show that his views were not representative of the protesters. After the interview, Pantoja saw Joshi was filming him. What happens next is an Abbott and Costello routine for the modern era. The transcript below honors Pantoja's nom de guerre, "Hugh Mungus."

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Homeless in Seattle: five essays

Peter Wieben's five-part series on homelessness in Seattle doesn't try to capture any kind of overarching truth or objective stock-taking of the problem (Seattle is now notorious for its tent cities). Rather, it consists of a series of sharply observed, dryly recounted personal stories from the people he meets, which range from heartbreaking to infuriating.

The conversion of shelter into an asset class has incentivized local governments to make it more expensive, which is a disaster for nearly everyone, except literal rentiers. Combine that with the recasting of poverty as a moral failing and the disappearance of stable employment opportunities and you're well on the way to turning cities into armed standoffs between the fingernail-clinging haves and the have-nots, whose misery only serves to spur the haves to cling harder.

Wieben beautifully captures the difficulty of confronting homelessness in all our lives: the combination of mistrust and sympathy, empathy and helplessness, frustration and affection.

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part I) [Peter Wieben/The Awl]

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part II) [Peter Wieben/The Awl]

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part III)

[Peter Wieben/The Awl]

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part IV) [Peter Wieben/The Awl]

You’d Have to be Crazy (Part V)

[Peter Wieben/The Awl]

(via Metafilter) Read the rest

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