The Tui is an endemic passerine bird of New Zealand. It is one of the largest members of the diverse honeyeater family. What many people don’t know is that the Tui has a remarkable facility for mimicry. [more inside]
In a statement today TfL said it has concluded that Uber is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence”. Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision. [more inside]
Location History Visualizer does what it says on the box, using Google location history json files. So if you have an Android device, and location tracking switched on (or have ever had this) you can view your own movements around the world over time as a heat map. [more inside]
Voiceover artist Paul Rugg demonstrates why the best way to relax is petting your dog.
Simon the Magpie makes noises, makes things that make noises, and makes things that make noises that make music. He will also bend your circuits. Oh, he also makes noises with his cat.
The Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act has returned, in the form of the Graham-Cassidy bill. Think Progress reports that the bill, will, among other things, gut Medicaid and throw 32 million people off of insurance. The Center for American Progress says that premiums for those with preexisting conditions will skyrocket: for instance, a $17,320 surcharge for a "preexisting" pregnancy and a $142,650 for a 40-year-old with metastatic cancer. Graham-Cassidy seems to have a good chance to pass. Or maybe it can still be stopped, says Politico. Late night host Jimmy Kimmel is fighting the good fight against the bill. There is still time to contact your Senators and Representatives. [more inside]
The only possible motive connecting all three cases was money. Hupp, who’d held several jobs in the insurance industry, was the beneficiary of both her friend’s and mother’s policies. But would somebody really stab a sick friend and shove her own mother off a balcony to get cash she’d receive in a few years anyway, then shoot a perfect stranger just to twist the plot?
The Jesuit priest and writer James Martin, S.J., has had three recent talks cancelled after a coordinated campaign by the "Catholic alt-right," because of his recent book on connecting the Catholic church with LGBT Catholics. As in the secular sphere, web sites, Twitter, and FaceBook groups are being used to organize actions to promote alt-right agendas, as described by the NYT here. [more inside]
My destination is the ultrarich haven called Aspen, Colorado. This makes perfect sense because I’m a long-haul mover at the pinnacle of the game, a specialist. I can make $250,000 a year doing what is called high-end executive relocation. No U-Hauls for me, thank you very much. I’ll take the movie stars, the ambassadors, the corporate bigwigs. At the office in Connecticut they call me the Great White Mover. This Aspen load, insured for $3 million, belongs to a former investment banker from a former investment bank who apparently escaped the toppled citadel with his personal loot intact. [more inside]
The Spa Car is the latest mad creation of Colin Furze. On commission for a Google ad, an E30 was sealed, and equipped with a grill, leaf bubble blowers and turf exterior. (* Single Link to a Colin Furze YouTube Video)
As the fall season in TV picks up steam (don't forget to check FanFare), Flashbak takes a look at the September 1989 TVGuide season preview. [more inside]
Wes Anderson's latest movie is a stop-motion animation, set in a future Japan where dogs have been banished to an island made of trash. Trailer #1
This Post is Intentionally Left Blank "Common in all areas of publishing, the phrase “This Page is Intentionally Left Blank” has been found in peer-reviewed academic articles costing $30 to access. To the best of our knowledge, this paper represents the first known review of Intentionally Blank Pages (IBPs)." [more inside]
“This is the building of the new society,” he said, adding later: “For so long Mississippi has been known as the symbol of limits. It has been known as a haven for oppression, for some of the most horrible suffering in the history of the world. So it is only fitting that we should become the leaders of that change.” - In Jackson Mississippi, a new vision of society istaking root with its bold new mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba - The Socialist Experiment - Oxford American
Well there's brutal and then there's *brutal* Nicolas Cole, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Digital Press bares his soul to reveal the hardships he endured growing up as a child of 1%ers.
An article from internet magazine Paper that champions bassist Tina Weymouth as the most valuable but still under-recognized member of the Talking Heads was Tweeted by Brian Eno, who knows a thing or two about the subject at hand. [more inside]
‘I wake up in the morning and I just realise that I am chaos.’ Marilyn Manson interviewed by the Guardian.
BBC: "...the Canadian province of Quebec has relaxed its guidelines around some common 'anglicisms'." The Register: "Quebec takes mature approach to 'grilled cheese' ban. It's for the grater good." The Globe and Mail: "...the agency gives the green light to technical words from English such as mayday and humidex, along with bluegrass and haggis." CBC News: "...and mot-clic as an alternative to hashtag." National Post: "And tennis players can take satisfaction from a well hit “smash” after the Office acknowledged that its recommended replacement - “coup d’écrasement” - just hasn’t caught on." Fromages Du Quebec, cheeses of Quebec, Best Quebec Cheeses, On the Quebec cheese trail, and Cheeses from Quebec. [previously]
Valve aims to combat Steam review bombing with new 'histogram' charts by Andy Chalk [PC Gamer] “Valve looked at a few possible solutions to the problem, including the elimination of review scores altogether, although that was pretty much a non-starter since they were added in response to user demand in the first place. Thought was also given to locking down reviews temporarily when "abnormal behavior," which is to say a review-bombing campaign, was detected. But that was rejected as well, because Valve doesn't want to "stop the community having a discussion about the issue they're unhappy about, even though there are probably better places to have that conversation than in Steam User Reviews." Ultimately, the decision was to do nothing, at least with regard to the review scores themselves. Instead, Valve is now providing consumers with more information about the reviews by way of a histogram that compares the ratio of a game's positive to negative reviews over its lifetime.” [more inside]
From Paris to New York, we’ve matched metro maps against versions that only include fully accessible stations. The results are discouraging – but are any cities doing it right? [slGuardian]
"Five times in the past 542 million years, more than three-fourths of marine animal species have vanished in mass extinctions. Each of these events is associated with a significant change in Earth’s carbon cycle. ... The modern critical size for the marine carbon cycle is roughly similar to the mass of carbon that human activities will likely have added to the oceans by the year 2100. ... Although the uncertainty of [these predictions are] considerable, all scenarios for cumulative uptake at the century’s end either exceed or are commensurate with the threshold for catastrophic change." [more inside]
Welcome to Centrism.biz We oppose extremists on the right who want to murder all non-whites, ground their bones into dust and build a perfect Aryan union fueled by a hatred unimaginably pure. We also oppose equally extreme movements on the left who want a higher tax rate on incomes over $200,000. [more inside]
"Of course, the angels, being angels, feel no relief as they piss. They get their celestial jollies by raining a little holy water on us, but they know nothing of urination as a physical urge. If you want to enjoy some real salt-of-the-earth pissing, Lebensztejn reports, you have to skip ahead to 1600." [more inside]
A cop called Brady drives up in his electric car, determined to kill someone. He enters a gambling joint, walks up to the barman – whose surname is Duncan – and tells him he’s under arrest. Duncan responds by shooting Brady in the chest at point-blank range, killing him instantly. The only explanation we get for any of this is that Brady’s “been on the job too long”. That’s the tale told by the classic murder ballad Duncan & Brady, and it contains a lot more truth than you might imagine. The date was October 6, 1890, and here’s what really happened. [via mefi projects by Paul Slade] [more inside]
32 years to the day after the infamous and memorable September 19, 1985 earthquake, and two weeks behind a recent one in Oaxaca called the "strongest in 100 years" , Mexico suffers a deadly earthquake that has severely affected Mexico City, plus towns in the states of Puebla, Morelos and Estado de Mexico. [more inside]
Turns Out Spiders Have Tiny Paws, And It May Change The Way You Look At Them (adorable paws only, no full spider images)
Alexis Okeowo in the New Yorker on West Africa's most daring designer:
Osakwe’s collection earlier this year was inspired by what she described as a “middle-class Nigerian girl going on a booty call.” In Lagos, that girl usually travels by the yellow danfo buses that career through the streets, and has practical problems to consider...“What is seduction to her? It’s not a pretty journey,” Osakwe said. “How does that middle-class girl get it on? Because sex is so taboo, but we know we’re all fucking like rabbits.” The answer, Osakwe reasoned, is clothing that is erotic but protective—not a short skirt and heels but a long, strapless red dress, evoking the traditional wrapper, that can easily be dropped in the act of seduction. Though she hesitates to tell Nigerian buyers that she draws inspiration from sex workers, clients see her clothes as an illicit escape: a chance to feel more exciting, less restrained.[more inside]
Following a tease on Instagram last night, it's been confirmed that HBO placed a pilot order for a Watchmen series. Somewhat controversial screenwriter Damon Lindelof heads the writing room. [more inside]
To wrap up the discussions of Pournelle and his ilk and the so-called "golden age" of SF, here's an interesting essay.
Today a retrospective of the art of Martin Wong (1946-1999) opens at the Berkeley Art Museum. The touring show originated at the Bronx Museum (NYT review), and its travels to the Bay Area represent a homecoming for the art of Wong, who was raised in San Francisco's Chinatown. He did set design for Cockettes spinoff the Angels of Light. He moved to New York in 1978, collaborated with his partner, writer Miguel Piñero, collected graffiti art (that collection is now at the City Museum of New York), and collected thousands of items including ceramics. He moved back to San Francisco after he was diagnosed with AIDS. His legacy is commemorated by the Martin Wong Foundation.
On the eve of The Good Place's season 2 premiere, Kristen Bell has released the video of the rest of the gang responding to finding out about the finale. Spoilers in the link/video.
David Shepherd, artist and conservation activist, has died aged 86. Best known for his depictions of African wildlife such as The Ivory is Theirs, he was also a renowned aviation artist and painter of steam engines. [more inside]
Want to spend a few hours on a wargame? Well, you definitely do not want to unroll the 10-foot board that comes with The Campaign for North Africa, because not only will you need to find nine friends, but y'all are likely to spend upwards of 1500 hours playing what Richard Berg, the game's designer, called "wretched excess... but it was designed specifically as such." [more inside]
Lillian Ross, who became known as the consummate fly-on-the-wall reporter in a six-decade career at The New Yorker, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. She was 99. [more inside]
Card skimming (previously) is a practice where thieves will place a secondary card reader over the primary card reader of a gas pump, which will then collect and store the information of any card used at that pump. As this scam proliferates, more and more scammers are using cheap skimmers that they buy off of the Internet, which they do not configure, making them detectable through the Bluetooth capabilities of your average smartphone. An open source (GitHub) app called the Skimmer Scanner (Android only, available through the Play Store) automates this process even further, and its author provides an in-depth tutorial about card skimming, and how to avoid it.
25-year-old Patrik Hermansson went undercover with American and British Nazis for a year. He presented himself as ”Erik Hallberg”, a political refugee from the left-wing dictatorship of Sweden. [more inside]
Appalachia has the greatest diversity of salamanders in the world, but since they largely live underground, many of the people who live in the region are barely aware of how many of the amphibians are around them. The US's National Zoo had an exhibit a few years ago on Appalachian salamanders, including this short film on salamanders, their role in the ecosystem, and how threats to the environment affect them.
Two things emerged from the rubble of Mexico City after the devastating 1985 earthquake that killed 30,000 people: the first one is the national spirit of solidarity and compassion that compels every Mexican to drop everything and rush to help those in need. The second one is the Topos. [more inside]
Understanding the brain using topology: the Blue Brain project. The brain is one of the main mysteries of medical science so this is huge! For me the most exciting part of this is that the researchers build their theory through the lens of Algebraic Topology and I will try to explain the main players in their game here. [more inside]
Since 1958, a small department of Germany’s government has sought to bring members of the Third Reich to trial. A handful of prosecutors are still tracking down Nazis, but the world’s biggest cold-case investigation will soon be shut down.
Tomb Raider [YouTube][Official Trailer] “From Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Tomb Raider is the story that will set a young and resolute Lara Croft on a path toward becoming a global hero. The film stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) in the lead role, under the direction of Roar Uthaug (The Wave), with Oscar-winner Graham King (The Departed) producing under his GK Films banner. The film¹s production begins on the heels of the 20th anniversary of the wildly popular videogame franchise from Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal.”
Colin Stokes is welcoming but has concerns about the sharing economy in The New Yorker
Ever wondered what a comptroller does? Crimefighting, at least if you're Susana Mendoza, comptroller of the State of Illinois, who leapt off her bike to chase down mobbed-up felon Johnny "Quarters" Boyle to prevent him from getting away with a hit-and-run.
Bethany Yellowtail is a fashion designer from the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations in Montana. Her designs are influenced by her grandmother's beadwork, elktooth dresses worn by powwow dancers on the Crow Reservation, old black and white photos of her family, and her political activism. "For me, it's about showing people in the mainstream fashion world -- our buyers may not be Native -- sharing a way that our women wear their regalia". [more inside]
The Gentle Oraclebird is a Twitterbot that dispenses beautiful tarot-style readings from an original deck designed by Shing Yin Khor, aka @sawdustbear.