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  • "Mist showers": a decadent shower that the planet can sustain

    The energy budget for a traditional shower for every person on the planet would exceed the entire world's (present-day) supply of wind power: even as we bring more renewables online, the energy consumption for planetary daily hot showers just doesn't pencil out.

    That doesn't mean we have to give up showers, though. "Mist showers" use multiple misting heads to deliver an all-over body wash with vastly less power/water-consumption. They date back to Buckminster Fuller, who invented a "fog gun" for washing up in his Dymaxion houses back in 1936.

    Mist showers are very efficient: even with five misting heads, the flow is a mere 2l/minute, a mere 20% of the output from "low-flow" shower-heads, one twelfth of the flow from a "rain shower." Three nozzles brings the water rate down to 1l/m.

    A young Dutch designer called Jonas Görgen has developed a kit to convert any shower into a mist shower.

    Mist showers sound like a way to be sustainable without giving up on physical comforts or cleanliness.

    The use of the shower to treat oneself seems to be incompatible with a drastic reduction of its water and energy use. However, there is a technology that might just do that: the mist shower. A mist shower atomizes water to very fine drops (less than 10 microns), which greatly reduces the water flow. Buckminster Fuller invented the first one in 1936 as part of his Dymaxion bathroom (he called it a “fog gun”). The idea was taken up again in the 1970s, when several trials and experiments were conducted with both atomised hand washing and showering.

    Read the rest

  • "Removing the water": physically-accurate color correction algorithm for underwater photography

    Researcher Derya Akkaynak developed a photogrammetry algorithm that corrects underwater photography to remove color haze created by backscattering -- in effect "removing the water" to show the underwater world in its fullness of color and detail. The results are beautiful and crystal clear.

    Why do all the pictures you take underwater look blandly blue-green? The answer has to do with how light travels through water. Derya Akkaynak, an oceangoing engineer, has figured out a way to recover the colorful brilliance of the deep.

    You can read the scientific paper at OpenAccess: Sea-thru: A Method For Removing Water From Underwater Images [PDF]

    The Sea-thru method estimates backscatter using the dark pixels and their known range information. Then, it uses an estimate of the spatially varying illuminant to obtain the range-dependent attenuation coefficient. Using more than 1,100 images from two optically different water bodies, which we make available, we show that our method with the revised model outperforms those using the atmospheric model. Consistent removal of water will open up large underwater datasets to powerful computer vision and machine learning algorithms, creating exciting opportunities for the future of underwater exploration and conservation.

    A funny problem with the video: at 2:56 in, they're seen using Photoshop's color balance tools to edit one of the images, while Akkaynak says "this method is not photoshopping an image." It's surely just a terrible edit and they were doing a comparison, but it made me wonder, so I fired up Photoshop to see how it does.

    Here, the paper's example is seen raw (top left), corrected by Photoshop's Auto Color tool (top right), corrected by Sea-Thru (bottom left) and corrected by me using the color balance sliders in Photoshop (bottom right). Read the rest

  • Trump's signature tax break for poor people went to subsidize a superyacht marina in Florida

    Trump's 2017 #taxscam transferred more than a trillion dollars to the richest people in America, but when Trump talks about it, he likes to tout the bill's "opportunity zone" provisions that provided massive tax breaks to investors who put money into places that would supposedly create jobs and housing for poor Americans.

    But which regions get designated as "opportunity zones" was left up to state governments, and have become a corruption bonanza as major political donors lean on state governors to designate their pet property developments as tax-havens, even as actual poor neighborhoods in desperate need of investment are turned down for status.

    This is especially visible in Florida, where then-Governor Rick Scott handed his top donors special tax designations for luxury projects, while turning down multiple applications from some of Florida's poorest areas.

    Among Florida's "opportunity zones" are Rybovich marina, a marina for $100m+ superyachts abutted by luxury condo towers called Marina Village. They're owned by Wayne Huizenga Jr, the scion of the Blockbuster Video fortune, who lobbied Scott for the marina's inclusion, resulting in a change to the designation plans. Other billionaire Scott donors also cashed in on the "opportunity zone" scam, thanks to their stake in Marina Village. Billionaire Tampa Ball Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, another Scott donor, got a tax break for his luxury residence/hotel/shop development in Tampa.

    The beneficiaries of this corruption insisted to Propublica that they weren't seeking tax breaks for themselves, but rather, they were motivated by concern for small-time investors who might build on adjacent lands. Read the rest

  • Directly importing photos into Adobe Lightroom is about to get a lot easier

    I love Adobe's Lightroom app. It makes editing my photos, one at a time or a bunch all at once a pleasure. I use it to catalog my photos, too: Apple's Photos apps on Mac OS and iPadOS just don't do it for me.  That said, I loath the number of hoops I have to jump through any time I want to import RAW photos from my camera into the iOS or iPadOS version of the app. Yeah, there's a Siri Shortcut to give shutterbugs a hand. But I don't use Siri. Happily, earlier today, I discovered that the two hundred and eleventy steps required to import photos into the app from my much-loved Sony RX100 III will soon become a whole lot more reasonable.

    Next to Scrivener releasing an iOS version of its spectacular writing app for iOS a few years back, the possibility of easily importing RAW images to Lightroom without having to deal with any bullshit is one of my favorite developments to come to the iPad since I bought my first one back in 2010.

    Image via Séamus Bellamy Read the rest

  • Big Tech's CEOs can't possibly fix Big Tech

    Cathy "Weapons of Math Destruction" O'Neil wants us to have empathy for Big Tech CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, who are "monumentally screwed, because they have no idea how to tame the monsters they have created."

    These guys aren't geniuses -- they just got lucky (twice: first by designing a product that people wanted to use, and second by doing so at the moment in which antitrust enforcement ceased, allowing them to grow through monopoly tactics).

    They're not going to be able to fix the disinformation, bad conduct, and harassment on their platforms. Algorithms won't and can't fix that problem. Human moderators cost a fortune and don't work very well. Any kind of transparency in your moderation policies just invites rules-lawyering and line-stepping and mires you in endless discussions about how to be fair to (in Facebook's case) 2.3 billion people, who will have 2,300 one-in-a-million circumstances every single day.

    So, back to my sympathy. These boys are all super rich, so it’s limited. But I’m imagining being their mom, feeling for them. They all started out wanting to make the world a better place using cool technology, and here they are, dealing with all of this democracy and public responsibility stuff, which they never signed up for and honestly don’t have the chops to handle.

    As their fictional mom, I’d like to offer some advice. Retire, step aside. Maybe find a new hobby. Ask someone smarter and more educated, thoughtful, and civic-minded to decide on the future of your companies.

    Read the rest

  • American health care's life-destroying "surprise bills" are the fault of local, private-equity monopolies

    Surprise billing -- when your urgent or emergency medical care results in massive bills that your insurer won't cover -- are a life-destroying phenomenon for an increasing number of Americans, who not only can't shop around for an emergency room from the back of an ambulance, but who also have no way to learn in advance whether their visit will generate five- or even six-figure bills.

    Here's how that happened: private equity funds have been on a purchasing spree, buying up the private doctor's groups that ERs, hospitals and urgent care centers contract with (part of the MBA-driven mania for hollowing out all social institutions into procurement systems that buy everything from outside contractors).

    Once a private equity "roll up" strategy has cornered the urgent/emergency medical care providers in a city or region, they just...raise prices. Seriously, it's that simple: corner the market, raise prices.

    This is happening up and down the health-care stack: two thirds of air ambulances are now owned by three private-equity-backed funds, and while the number of air ambulances has gone up, while demand has remained flat, the price of an air ambulance has doubled in a decade. The helicopter that takes you to a hospital today might cost $56k, of which your insurer will expect you to pay $44k.

    In 2018, private equity did about 800 health-care acquisitions, totalling more than $100b, leaving 22% of US physician markets in a "highly concentrated" state.

    But just because the deals totaled to more than $100b, that doesn't mean that PE firms spent that much. Read the rest

  • Student body president at University of Florida is facing impeachment proceedings over payments to Donald Trump Jr

    Because fiction, satire, and reality are all one big intertwined clusterfuck these days, the New York Times has reported the following:

    Student representatives at the University of Florida introduced a bill on Tuesday to impeach Michael Murphy, the student body president, accusing him of improperly using student fees to pay one of President Trump’s sons to speak on campus.

    It all began when Mr. Murphy, a senior, invited Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News host and adviser to the president’s campaign, to speak on campus and paid them $50,000 with university funds. Some students say the payment was a violation of the Student Senate code — and possibly the law.

    So the president (of the student body at a college) is facing impeachment because he took money from other people against their will to enrich the Trump family. What do you a call an SEO wet dream when it's actually a nightmare?

    This is a pretty major upgrade in the ongoing right-wing crusade to de-legitimize higher education across the country. But I do have to admit: stealing $50,000 from your fellow students and using it to get yourself in good graces with the Trumps is exactly the kind of slimey move a Trump would pull. So in that case, good on you, Mr. Murphy, for really putting in the work to achieve your lifelong dreams of corrupt scumbaghood. I salute you with this one finger.

    He Invited Donald Trump Jr. to Campus. Now He’s Facing Impeachment [Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Hannah Phillips / The New York times]

    Image by Max Goldberg/Flickr

      Read the rest

  • Secure up to 10 devices with this elite antivirus, now over 80% off

    The more you use your computer, the more it becomes possible for others to use it too. Where there are anti-virus systems, there are hackers looking for a way to get around them.

    That's why it's important to get software that doesn't just passively scout for viruses in the background. The folks behind GlassWire have the right idea, with a service that offers both protection and extensive monitoring that will enable you to make sure you're the only one logging on.

    Certainly, GlassWire's firewall is an effective defense on its own. But what the software really does well is tracking. It monitors things in your network activity by app and geographic location and notifies you whenever a new app accesses the web from your system. It keeps tabs on any network activity that occurred while you were logged off and keeps an eye out for known threats and unexpected file changes. And, it lets you see all this info in an easily digestible visual format.

    It even helps you use your computer more effectively by alerting you to possible bandwidth overages, and lets you clear your internet activity at a moment's notice.

    Best of all, it does all this for up to 10 devices. Right now, you can pick up a three-year subscription to GlassWire Elite for a full 89% off the list price. Read the rest

  • The poorest half of Americans have nothing left, so now the 1%'s growth comes from the upper middle class

    The Fed's latest figures on American household wealth paint a rosy picture -- in the aggregate. US households now own a record-breaking $107T worth of assets!

    But drill into those figures and you'll notice that almost all of this new wealth has landed in the pockets of the top 1% of households. That's not unusual: America has been on a glide-path to oligarchy since the Reagan years. What's also not new is that the share of wealth owned by the bottom 50% of American households has continued to fall, while their debts have continued to rise: the bottom half own 6.1% of all US wealth, while they are burdened with 36% of America's debts. When you subtract debts from assets, the bottom half of US households account for only 1.9% of America's assets.

    What that tells us is that the top 1%'s growth can no longer come from the bottom half, the people whose political woes and economic anxiety do not provoke regulators or lawmakers to actions.

    And indeed, when you look at the Fed's quarterly figures, you see that the biggest decline in household wealth is now coming from the upper middle class, the 50%-99% of households, who are, basically, the last people left in America with piggybanks for oligarchs to empty.

    There's lots of ways in which wealth-transfers from the upper-middles to the super-rich are effected: while upper-middles might own stocks, they don't get to buy into private equity funds or VC funds, where table-stakes are $5m. Meanwhile, the most common assets for the middles -- CDs, savings accounts -- have been stagnant for more than a decade, thanks to the Fed's low-interest policies. Read the rest

  • A small city mayor explains why safe drug injection sites are so effective

    In my experience, people either immediately recognize the name of Harris Wittels, or they don’t at all. And that’s precisely what makes the comedian and former Parks & Rec writer’s death from addiction in 2015 that much more tragic.

    4 years later, Wittels’ sister, Stephanie Wittels Wachs, has launched a new podcast series called “The Last Day” that explores the ongoing opioid epidemic in-depth and with astounding empathy. While many people have been affected by this problem, the solutions aren’t so readily apparent. Or, if they are, there are still stigmas around them that make it difficult to enact them on a larger enough scale.

    In the 7th episode of the podcast, Wittels Wachs speaks with Svante Myrick, the 32-year-old politician who just won his third term as mayor of Ithaca, New York. Myrick speaks passionately and candidly about his own family’s history with addiction, and also about the potential benefits of safe injection sites—supervised spaces where people can go and freely use the drugs to which they are addicted. The idea is understandably controversial, particularly if you subscribe to the negative stereotypical assumptions about drug users. But, as Myrick explains, these safe injection sites have been shown to reduce deaths as well as crime.

    If this sounds contradictory to you, well, then, I would suggest you listen to the podcast episode:

    7: 20,000 Fewer Funerals

    I’ll be honest: I’m not being completely objective here. My friend Matt overdosed and died in 2016. My wife also runs a professional theatre company in Ithaca, where Svante is mayor—and in 2018, I wrote a play about opioid recovery that was devised in collaboration with people in the Ithaca area who were transitioning out of prison and rehabilitation programs. Read the rest

  • Meet Narwhal, an abandoned puppy with an extra tail on his head

    Staff at Mac's Mission, an animal rescue center in Missouri, named him Narwhal. The healthy 10-week-old pup has an extra tail, smack in the middle of his forehead.

    Rochelle Steffen, who runs Mac's Mission, named after a pit-bull terrier she rescued seven and a half years ago, told BBC News Narwhal "is in no pain and plays for hours". ... And X-rays had showed his secondary tail, about a third the size of his actual tail, was not connected to anything and served no purpose other than to make him the "coolest puppy ever".

    Narwhal will not be made available for adoption until he's grown up some, to confirm the secondary tail is healthy. Read the rest

  • There's now a convention specifically for fans of Hallmark Christmas movies

    Christmas is so popular for Hallmark that the network will debut 40 new Christmas-themed movies this year. This weekend was the first ever ChristmasCon, a three-day sold-out event celebrating those movies:

    The convention is the brainchild of Thats4Entertainment, a friend group of four women who decided a year ago to channel their love of the holidays into a weekend of festivities, centered around Hallmark’s Christmas programming. Their big break was booking Lacey Chabert, the Mean Girls actress who has since starred in almost as many Hallmark programs as there are letters in her name. She was the linchpin, organizer Christina Figliolia tells me: “We knew if we could get her, we could do this.” Hallmark came on later as the official sponsor. All in, they booked over a dozen current and former Hallmark celebs, including Chad Michael Murray, Melissa Joan Hart, Rachel Boston, Paul Greene, Alicia Witt, and Jackée Harry.

    Madison Malone Kircher wrote about the experience for Vulture. Mostly happy fans, but one dark cloud:

    There’s one Hallmark anchor who is noticeably absent. The company severed all ties earlier this year with Lori Loughlin following Operation Varsity Blues, which busted Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, for paying half a million dollars to have their daughters falsely recruited to the University of Southern California crew team. (The couple pleaded not guilty.) Loughlin, along with starring in a handful of holiday movies, was a lead in When Calls the Heart, Hallmark’s longest-running and most-watched series. Hallmark released the rest of the 2019 season with Louhglin’s scenes edited out.

    Read the rest
  • Truly tiny house flipping

    "Mini House Flip" on Instagram is dedicated to documenting efforts to remodel a childhood dollhouse:

    View this post on Instagram

    Our inaugural post! This house was gifted to my sisters and I when we were kids. 20 years later, my mom and have finally decided to give it the remodel it deserves. Follow along to watch our progress! . . . #minihouseflip #dollhouse #dollhouseminiatures #miniatures #craftproject #remodel #makeover

    A post shared by Mini House Flip (@minihouseflip) on Aug 28, 2019 at 12:56pm PDT

    The three dozen or so posts to date include creating a new hardwood floor:

    View this post on Instagram

    Miter snips, crafts sticks, glue, and a ruler = a new floor for the next room in the house. Swipe to see a super blurry “before” photo of the what will become the study. This room is also where the stairs come up from the first floor. I created a template from card stock for the floor for easy installation. . . #dollhouse #miniatureinteriors #miniature #interiordesign #dolls #onetwelfthscale #remodel #remodeling #minihouseflip #dollhouseaccessories #maker #craft #craftsman

    A post shared by Mini House Flip (@minihouseflip) on Aug 31, 2019 at 2:45pm PDT

    Framed butterfly collection:

    View this post on Instagram

    Mom made tiny shadow box frames and I made tiny butterflies for the study’s gallery wall. . . #dollhouse #miniatureinteriors #miniature #interiordesign #dolls #onetwelfthscale #oneinchscale #remodel #remodeling #minihouseflip #dollhouseaccessories #maker #craft #craftsman

    A post shared by Mini House Flip (@minihouseflip) on Sep 4, 2019 at 1:01pm PDT

    Reupholstered chair and throw rug:

    View this post on Instagram

    Reupholstered chair for the study.

    Read the rest
  • Macrocilix maia, a moth that evolved to look like flies eating glistening bird shit

    Macrocilix maia is a moth with a most unusual camouflage: it looks like two flies enjoying a delicious supper of fresh bird shit. Is this merely some amusing human poop-pareidolia, or did Macrocilix truly evolve an appearance that made avian predators think it was a poisoned meal? There is "scant research," writes research scientist Alex Wild.

    The scant published research on the mural moth is systematic in nature, with nary a mention of the incredible mimicry. In fact, the photo-sharing site Flickr has outpaced any academic work: photographer Allan Lee reports in 2009 that the moth reinforces the imagery with a pungent odor. That’s the extent of our knowledge. Macrocilix maia is a Ph.D. project waiting to happen.

    Wild was writing in 2011. Has anything interesting been learned of Macrocilix since? Google Scholar suggests only fleeting references in papers and a book, saying nothing more than Wild's summary. There are many splendid specimens on Flickr, all with nearly-identical caco-camo.

    Photo: Alexey Yakovlev/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0) Read the rest

  • This adorable puppy has a tail growing from his head

    This good boy is named Narwhal. And yes, he has a tail growing from his head. Kind folks rescued from the cold outdoors in Kansas City, Mo. and took the 10-week-old pup to Mac's Mission, a nonprofit animal shelter in Jackson, Mo. From Yahoo!:

    Once situated in Jackson, Narwhal was evaluated by Dr. Brian Heuring, a veterinarian at Cape Small Animal Clinic, who was able to share a good prognosis on the pup's signature appendage — and no, it doesn't wag, if you were wondering.

    "Dr. Heuring is completely not on board with cutting it off at this point," (shelter founder Rochelle) Steffen shared of the extra tail, which is said to be about a third of the size of the tail on Narwhal's posterior. "We took X-rays and there is no medical reason for it to be removed, other than just cosmetic."

    "We are always willing to do the medically necessary thing to make sure our animals have a good quality of life, but at this point, it doesn't bother him, it's not in his way," she continued. "He doesn't know any different, so he just runs and plays and is wild, like a normal puppy with a tail on his face."

    Read the rest

  • Divers retrieve hundreds of bottles of booze from a World War I shipwreck

    In 1917, Swedish steamer ship Kyros was traveling from France to Russia when a German U-boat sunk it in the Baltic Sea. The shipwreck was discovered in 1999 but it wasn't until the last month that a team of divers from Ocean X and iXplorer have hauled up the sunken treasure: 600 bottles of De Haartman & Co. cognac and 300 bottles of Benedictine (now Bacardi) liqueur meant for Tsar Nicholas II. From Smithsonian:

    (Expedition leader Peter) Lindberg and his colleagues have sent samples of both the cognac and the Benedictine to a laboratory to gauge whether the alcohol is still fit for consumption. They are optimistic regarding the outcome of these tests, according to Metcalfe, as the Baltic’s freezing waters are actually ideal for storing spirits. Although some of the bottles contain sediment, many remain sealed. Several cognac bottles even have intact tin seals...

    As Lindberg tells CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore and David Williams, he and the rest of the team detected a slight scent of sweetened herbs coming from the Benedictine bottles...

    Earlier this year, two bottles of 17th-century wine discovered by Ocean X went up for auction at Christie’s. And in 2011, a 200-year-old bottle of champagne found in another Baltic shipwreck sold for a record-breaking $43,000.

    images: OceanXTeam on Instagram Read the rest

  • Absorb best-selling books in minutes with this reading app

    Knowledge is power. It's a cliché, but sometimes things turn into a cliché because they're true. If you're making your way through the world of business and entrepreneurship, it only makes sense to read about the insights of people who have climbed that ladder before you.

    Trouble is, the modern workday doesn't leave a lot of time for reading - especially for those go-getters who might benefit the most.

    That's where services like can be a real life-saver, giving you the meat of self-help or business books in minutes rather than days or weeks.

    The book summary service gives laser-focused breakdowns of some essential titles in the nonfiction world - bestsellers like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, To Sell is Human, 10% Happier and many more. The current library has over 300 titles and is growing at around 100 additions every year.

    Summaries are accessible as animated videos that distill the big ideas and water-cooler facts into bite-sized chunks that you can absorb over a quick lunch, coffee break, or lazy commute. That's a ton of time freed up to actually act on all that great information.

    There's a number of plans available, but you can get access to them all on sale now. Pick up a 1-year subscription for $19.99, 5 years for $49.99, or a lifetime for just $99.99 today. Read the rest

  • Interview with Errol Morris about his new Steve Bannon Documentary

    Nick Gillespie of Reason interviewed filmmaker Errol Morris about American Dharma, his new documentary about Steve Bannon. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    When Errol Morris debuted American Dharma, his documentary about Stephen Bannon, last year at the Venice Film Festival, he received an ovation. But after early reviewers accused the Oscar-winning director of letting the former head and adviser to President Trump "off the hook," Morris found it impossible to get a distribution deal in the United States.

    It was the first time in decades that the acclaimed director of The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War couldn't get a movie into theaters. "The experience was so damn weird," Morris tells Reason. "People became so angry with me and with the movie, they certainly wanted to deplatform not just Bannon, but they wanted to deplatform me."

    But now his film, American Dharma, is finally in theaters.

    Nick Gillespie sat down with the 71-year-old Morris, whom Roger Ebert called "as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini," for a wide-ranging conversation about the censorious first reactions to his new film, his history with Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, and what he learned—and didn't learn—about Steve Bannon's philosophy. He also talks about why he thinks we're in a golden age of documentary filmmaking, his heated grad-school confrontations with philosopher Thomas Kuhn (detailed in his recent book The Ashtray: Or the Man Who Denied Reality), and Wormwood, his 2017 Netflix docudrama series about the CIA's notorious MKUltra mind-control program.

    Read the rest
  • alt.interoperability.adversarial
    Today, we are told that the bigness of Big Tech giants was inevitable: the result of "network effects." For example, once everyone you want to talk to is on Facebook, you can't be convinced to use another, superior service, because all the people you'd use that service to talk to are still on Facebook. And of course, those people also can't leave Facebook, because you're still there.

    But network effects were once a double-edge sword, one that could be wielded both by yesterday's Goliaths and today's Davids. Once, network effects made companies vulnerable, just as much as they protected them.

    The early, pre-graphic days of the Internet were dominated by Usenet, a decentralized, topic-based discussion-board system that ran on UUCP -- AT&T's Unix-to-Unix Copy utility -- that allowed administrators of corporate servers to arrange for their computers to dial into other organizations' computers and exchange stored messages with them, and to pass on messages that were destined for more distant systems. Though UUCP was originally designed for person-to-person messaging and limited file transfers, the administrators of the world's largest computer systems wanted a more freewheeling, sociable system, and so Usenet was born.

    Usenet systems dialed each other up to exchange messages, using slow modems and commercial phone lines. Even with the clever distribution system built into Usenet (which allowed for one node to receive long-distance messages for its closest neighbors and then pass the messages on at local calling rates), and even with careful call scheduling to chase the lowest long-distance rates in the dead of night, Usenet was still responsible for racking up some prodigious phone bills for the corporations who were (mostly unwittingly) hosting it. Read the rest

  • How to survive solitary confinement

    I highly recommend McKinley Valentine's email newsletter, The Whippet. In each issue she presents interesting ideas, art, videos, and articles.

    Here's an item from the latest issue (#85):

    How to survive solitary confinement

    I like to read things like this, keep it in my pocket, so I worry less about what if it happens.

    The recommendation is more or less -- you'll go crazy anyway, so go crazy with intention, to protect your brain.

    The human brain does very badly in social isolation - we're not built for it, and people start hallucinating and dissociating very quickly when it's complete. It's actual torture, but people don't expect it to be because it sounds so low-key.

    So the people in this article - both people who've survived solitary, and psychologists - suggest using a lot of visualisation. Imagine yourself in a much bigger space than you are, get to know it. Have a "workspace" where you train, maybe practice a sport in your mind. Every day, regularly, like you were outside and had a proper life. Imagine meeting a friend and having conversations with them.

    Part of what makes you go crazy in isolation is the lack of external cues and structures, so it has to be structured visualisations, not just panicked uncontrolled daydreaming.

    From someone who survived 7 years in almost total solitary confinement (again, this is torture, it is amazing he came out of it relatively okay):

    "He he used to kill time for hours working out detailed visualizations of himself in a vivid alternate reality, where he could inhabit open spaces and converse with people.

    Read the rest
  • The Life Cycle podcast meets neurologist Dr. Phil Kennedy, who had a brain-computer interface implanted in his head

    In Episode 5 of this podcast on the future of humanity, co-host Eva Kelley travels to meet transhumanist pioneer and neurologist Dr. Phil Kennedy, who recently had a brain-computer interface installed in his own head. Dr. Kennedy tells Eva all about that experience (including gory footage from the operation), compares his approach to brain-computer interfaces with those being developed by people like Elon Musk ("they forgot the brain doesn't like electrodes"), and discusses the implications of this technology on human evolution. Eva and co-host John Holten close by reading an excerpt from Dr. Kennedy's self-published novel, which features a sex scene between a life support robot and his longtime wife.

    The Life Cycle is a production of Klang Games, creator of Seed, the planet colonization MMO -- watch the new trailer here.  Subscribe to The Life Cycle on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and Spotify. Follow The Life Cycle on Twitter and Instagram. Read the rest

  • A "leopard print" shirt that made up of tiled portraits of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Infuriate your racist Facebook uncle this Thanksgiving with a Leopard RBG shirt. Read the rest

  • OXO good grips deep clean brush set

    Toothbrushes might seem like a good idea for scrubbing small areas, but they are not angled properly for the job and they wear out fast. The OXO good grips deep clean brush set ( on Amazon) has two brushes and a wiper blade designed for cleaning tile grout and other hard to reach areas. Read the rest

  • A woman's stalker compromised her car's app, giving him the ability to track and immobilize it

    An Australian woman's creepy, violent ex-boyfriend hacked her phone using stalkerware, then used that, along with her car's VIN number, to hack the remote control app for her car (possibly Landrover's Incontrol app), which allowed him to track her location, stop and start her car, and adjust the car's temperature.

    It's a great leap forward in spousal abuse, leapfrogging the analog days in which abusive partners had to be content with using odometer counts to track how far their victims were traveling. Now, with in-car apps -- no better secured than other apps -- abusive partners and ex-partners can follow them around in realtime and even immobilize their vehicles.

    Stalkerware is now a factor in the majority of spousal abuse cases; since stalkerware compromises mobile devices, and since these devices can be used to control a wide range of other devices (vehicles, thermostats, medical implants, door locks, etc), an abuser can leverage their stalkerware infections to turn their victims' lives into digital Kafka novels.

    She didn’t know it then, she said in court, but that mid-evening break-in was far from the first time he had stalked her — he’d been doing it for months, in real time, authorities said. The man, whom she dated for six months, allegedly weaponized simple technology and smartphone apps that allowed him to remotely stop and start her car, control the vehicle’s windows and track her constantly.

    “I am still trying to come to terms with the scope of violation and trauma I have experienced,” she said.

    Read the rest

  • Fox News: Today's impeachment testimony was "very damaging to the President"

    Chris Wallace of Fox News was impressed with Ambassador William Taylor's testimony in today's impeachment hearings:

    "William Taylor was a very impressive witness and was very damaging to the president. First of all, as you pointed out, he took very copious notes at almost every conversation... I think very nonpolitical. He went out of his way to talk about what he knew, what he was specifically testament to. The only thing he talked about was a strong feeling that it was in the U.S. national security interests to support Ukraine in the fight against Russia. But he certainly wasn't taking any partisan position."

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  • Butthole Surfers' Gibby Haynes wrote a young adult novel and it sounds fantastically weird
    Gibby Haynes, frontman for legendary psych band the Butthole Surfers, penned a young adult novel, "Me and Mr. Cigar," to be released in January. And no surprise, it sound fantastically far fucking out. I can't wait to read it. Here's the description:

    Seventeen-year-old Oscar Lester is never without his dog, Mr. Cigar. The two have made a pretty good life for themselves in North Texas, organizing drug-fueled dance parties with Oscar’s best friend, Lytle Taylor. The only real grownup in Oscar’s life is Carla Marks, protégé of his deceased father and the genius behind the enigmatic IBC Corporation. (Oscar’s mom spends all of her time with her new boyfriend.) Carla doesn’t approve of Oscar’s nefarious activity, though his parties provide an ideal environment to test-run some of IBC’s more freakish technology. As for Oscar’s older sister, Rachel . . . she’s been gone for the past five years, having fled after Mr. Cigar bit off her hand.

    But Oscar knows that his dog is no menace. Mr. Cigar is a loyal protector: a supernatural creature that can exact revenge, communicate telepathically, and manipulate car doors and windows with ease. So when Rachel—now twenty-two and an artist living in New York—calls out of the blue and claims that she’s being held hostage, Oscar sees an opportunity to make things right between them . . . at least until Carla Marks warns Oscar that Mr. Cigar’s life might be in danger, too.

    Suddenly Oscar finds himself on the run with his dog and his best friend.

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  • Watch this lock picker remove an inventory control tag in one second

    It's frustrating to buy an article of clothing from a store, then get home and discover that the ink-filled inventory control tag is still attached. This happened to the Lock Picking Lawyer, but instead of wasting a lot of time returning to the store, he was able to safely remove the tag at home in a fraction of a second by holding a neodymium magnet against it.

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  • This software can clone a person's voice by listening to a 5-second sample

    Here are audio samples from a neural network based system that can analyze a 5-second recording of someone's voice, then have that same voice say anything you want it to say.

    Someone made a version of the software that you can download from Github. Read the rest

  • Nemesis Prime Transformer has a G-Shock wristwatch in its chest

    Casio G-Shock and Transformers are releasing a Nemesis Prime action figure that contains a G-Shock wristwatch in its chest. More than meets the eye, the Optimus Prime also transforms into a fancy pedestal for the watch when it's not on your wrist. The ¥30,000 JPY (US$275) set will only be available in Japan.

    G-SHOCK DW-5600TF19-SET (Hypebeast)

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  • Minnesota high school threw away hot lunches for students with over $15 of lunch debt

    Instead of feeding high school kids who were too poor to pay their lunch bill, a high school in Minnesota humiliated the students in front of the other students by throwing their hot meals in the garbage and giving them cold food instead, reports NBC News. After the school was exposed, they decided an apology was in order.

    "We deeply regret our actions today and the embarrassment that it caused several of our students," the district wrote in a statement Monday. "We have met with some of the students involved and apologized to them."

    Richfield Superintendent Steven Unowsky told KARE the actions of cafeteria staff were "inappropriate."

    “There are multiple failures we had in this situation and our job is to fix it. First and foremost [in] the way we treated our kids. We should never leave kids with the feeling they had from the experience,” Unowsky said.

    It seems like a decent apology. You can donate to the school district's meal account here. It's kind of difficult to do, so follow the directions closely.

    Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture - Fruit-bar-pic---Web, Public Domain, Link Read the rest